If you were to put the number of Indians players in the All-Star Game on a graph stretching from the first ASG in 1933 to 2012, there would be a nice big upwards curve starting in the late 1940s, peaking in 1952 with a total of 7 All-Stars, holding steady until 1961, when the number of Indians All-Stars begins a slow downward trajectory. For most of the 1970s and 1980s, we had one, sometimes two, players in the ASG, mainly because every team has to be represented. Then in the 1990s, we had another uptick; the Indians sent 6 players to the ASG in 1995, 1998, and 1999. It was a good time to be a fan.
This year, we’re ably represented by Chris Perez and Asdrubal Cabrera. While I would have liked to have seen Jason Kipnis be voted in, I have no doubt we’ll see him in more than one future ASG. In honor of the All-Star break, I thought I’d revisit a couple of famous (and infamous) Indians All-Star moments.
- Cleveland has hosted the All-Star Game five times: 1935, 1954, 1963, 1981, and 1997. The first four were at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium; the 1997 game was at Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field).
- At the 1997 All-Star Game, Sandy Alomar became the first player from a host team to hit a home run since Hank Aaron hit one at Atlanta Stadium in 1972.
- Larry Doby was one of the first African Americans to play in the All-Star Game, when he, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe participated in the 1949 game. He was the only African American player from the American League.
- During the 1954 game at Municipal Stadium, Tribe favorite Al Rosen played with a broken finger and proved his studliness by becoming the third player to hit two home runs in an All-Star Game, helping the AL to an 11-9, 17-hit victory.
- We all know about Pete Rose slamming into Indians catcher Ray Fosse in the last play of the 12-inning 1970 ASG. Fosse was 23 years old and at the start of a promising career. Rose body-slammed him, fracturing Fosse’s left shoulder. It was so swollen that X-rays taken that night didn’t reveal the the break, so Fosse kept playing. This was in the days of one-year contracts. Fosse couldn’t or wouldn’t take the time the let the shoulder heal because he had to play for next year’s contract. Every Indians fan knows about that hit (and most of us despise Rose for it and for his complete lack of remorse) . But many fans don’t know about Earl Averill and Dizzy Dean during the 1937 ASG.
- In the bottom of the 3rd inning of the 1937 ASG, Indians center fielder Earl Averill, a six-time All-Star, hit a hard, low line drive right to the pitcher’s mound, hitting St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Dizzy Dean on his left foot. Averill was thrown out, ending the inning. In the clubhouse, Dean discovered that the line drive had broken a toe. Rather than keep him off the mound until it completely healed, Dean kept playing, but the injury made him change his pitching motion slightly to relieve pressure on the toe, which led to arm and shoulder problems. He retired in 1941 at the ripe old age of 31.