Monday, July 14, 2008

The Phils And the All-Star Game

Growing up, I actually enjoyed watching all-star games. I especially thought that the baseball All-Star game was about the coolest of the all-star games if for no other reason, than that the contest itself came the closest to an actual representation of how the game is actually played and less like an exhibition.

For example, none of the players appear to pull back on the reins in the baseball version of the event. Players all try to get on base and run out ground balls. Pitchers try to hit their spots and fielders want to catch the baseball. This seperates the baseball all-star game from other all-star games. Take the NBA, for example. In the NBA, they don't play defense in some regular season games, let alone the NBA all-star game. The NHL all-star game is a glorified exhibition without the things that make hockey great, like passion, intensity, and the hitting game. The NFL Pro Bowl is an afterthought because of it's being played after the very apex of the season, the Super Bowl.

So that leaves us with the baseball all-star game. And I still like to watch the game.

And obviously, growing up, I wanted to see how the Phillies would do in the game, against the AL competition. This is not as big of a deal as it used to be, because of the advent of interleague play, but I still do want to see Phils that are good enough to go to the game actually represent the franchise well.

There are some Phils that have represented the franchise with distinction. The following are some of the more well-known Phillies moments associated with the All-Star game.

Honorable Mention: John Kruk (1993) did not have a good game in the 1993 mid-summer classic, but he provided one of the more memorable moments in the history of the all-star game. Kruk, a lefthanded hitter, had a very public request before the game: that he not face Seattle's Randy Johnson, the hard-throwing bane of all left-handed hitters.

Well, as fate would have it, he faced Johnson. Johnson, knowing that Kruk wanted no part of him, sailed the first pitch over Kruk's head. Kruk, after having his life flash before his eyes, seemed thrilled to not be dead. Players were laughing, and yeah, it's safe to say that Kruk was setup here (Johnson is seen laughing about it walking off the mound). While it may not have been a moment of distinction, it was certainly memorable.

It's tough to fully describe the at-bat to do it justice, but I was able to find a link so you can check it out for yourself here. Let's just say it's pretty tough to hit when you've got one foot in the dugout.

5.) Jimmy Rollins (2002), as the starting SS, goes 2 for 2 for the NL, scoring 2 runs in the infamous 2002 All-Star game that ended in a 7 - 7 tie. There was no MVP selected in the game.

4.) Phils closers Heathcliff Slocumb (1995) and Doug Jones (1994) were winning pitchers for the NL in back to back years.

3.) The Bull, Greg Luzinski (1977), takes Baltimore's Jim Palmer deep in the first inning to cap off a 4 run 1st inning as the NL bested the AL 7 - 5.

2.) Mike Schmidt (1981) hits a 2 run HR in the 8th inning off of Milwaukee's Rollie Fingers that provides the difference in a 5 - 4 NL win. Schmidt also doubled in the game, but lost MVP to Gary Carter, who hit 2 homers.

1.) Johnny Callison (1964) hits a 3 run walk off HR in the bottom of the 9th off of Boston's Dick Radatz to lead the NL to a 7 - 4 win. The game winning blast earned Callison the MVP award for the game.

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