With all due respect to the WNBA All-Star Game, which was played Sunday in Chicago, the NBA and NHL All-Star games and the NFL’s Pro Bowl, the only All-Star Game that offers great offense and great defense is Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. Even ESPN’s Bob Ryan, my writing partner on ”In Scoring Position: 40 Years of a Baseball Love Affair” and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, agrees. (But he does claim to remember great
defensive battles in the NBA’s midseason exhibition.) The first All-Star Game was held at Comiskey Park on July 6, 1933. It was the brainchild of Arch Ward, the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune. It was designed to lift the spirits of the country mired in the Great Depression. I like to hope the game continues to lift the spirits of those who watch and enjoy baseball.
This week’s quiz focuses on the All-Star Game. As David Letterman would say as he introduced stupid pet tricks: ”It’s not a competition, it’s only an exhibition. Please, no wagering.”
Have fun. Enjoy the quiz and enjoy the game.
1. Which Chicago player had the most All-Star Games in which he got a hit?
a. Ernie Banks
b. Ron Santo
c. Nellie Fox
d. Minnie Minoso
2. Who was the last Chicago pitcher to win an All-Star Game?
a. Lee Smith
b. Chris Sale
c. Mark Buehrle
d. Lucas Giolito
3. Which of these Chicago pitchers did not win an All-Star Game?
a. Early Wynn
b. Greg Maddux
c. Jack McDowell
d. Lee Smith
4. Two White Sox have homered in the All-Star Game. Who are they?
a. Jose Abreu
b. Frank Thomas
c. Magglio Ordonez
d. Paul Konerko
5. Six Chicago players have stolen bases in the All-Star Game. Who was the thief who swiped two?
a. Alexei Ramirez
b. Ray Durham
c. Luis Aparicio
d. Starlin Castro
e. Derrek Lee
f. Ryne Sandberg
6. The year was 2003, and the White Sox hosted the All-Star Game. It followed the 2002 Bud Selig mess when the NL ran out of pitchers and the game ended in a tie. Selig then made matters worse in 2003 by declaring that the All-Star Game winner would provide its league with home-field advantage in the World Series. ”This time, it counts!” was the slogan shouted by MLB and the networks covering the game. The AL did get home-field advantage by virtue of its 7-6 victory. Who won the 2003 World Series?
a. The Marlins
b. The Yankees
c. It was a tie
7. I feel obliged to put in a Home Run Derby question. The derby is a made-for-TV event that means even less than the All-Star Game but always draws a big viewing audience. There have been multiple formats over the years: league vs. league, nation vs. nation and now individual vs. individual. The first of these events took place in 1985, when the AL edged the NL 17-16 (although the Reds’ Dave Parker was the individual winner). The AL team had five players, four of whom hit four homers each. Who was the player who hit only one?
a. Jim Rice
b. Carlton Fisk
c. Cal Ripken Jr.
d. Eddie Murray
e. Tom Brunansky
8. Who has hit the most All-Star Game homers?
a. Ted Williams
b. Willie Mays
c. Stan Musial
d. Henry Aaron
9. I always love to end with a walk-off. There have been three walk-off homers in the All-Star Game. Which of these players didn’t hit one?
a. Stan Musial
b. Ted Williams
c. Ken Griffey Jr.
d. Johnny Callison
1. Ernie Banks hit in seven All-Star Games to lead the Cubs, but Nellie Fox hit in 10 to lead Chicago.
2. Chris Sale of the White Sox was the winner in 2013, when the AL topped the NL 3-0.
3. Early Wynn won in 1958, Jack McDowell won in 1993 and Lee Smith won in 1987. Greg Maddux appeared in four All-Star Games in his magnificent career and had a record of 0-0.
4. Magglio Ordonez homered in 2001 and Frank Thomas in 1995.
5. In 2011, Starlin Castro came into the game as a pinch runner for Troy Tulowitzki. With the Angels’ Jordan Walden on the mound, he stole second and third.
6. The Marlins were the victors in six games, winning two of three games in Yankee Stadium. In spite of Selig’s proclamation, the All-Star Game didn’t count for much.
7. Cal Ripken Jr. hit only one homer, and his consecutive Home Run Derby streak ended at one (although he was the winner in 1991).
8. There are many reasons why Stan is ”The Man.” Hitting six All-Star Game homers is one of them.
9. Ted Williams hit the first in 1941. Stan Musial hit the second in 1955. Johnny Callison hit the third — and final one to date — in 1964. I think we’re due for another one.
There is one thing that I think should happen in the All-Star Game this year: My hope is that these male athletes find some way to remind the world that we are all behind Brittney Griner.
Have a peaceful and safe week. Don’t forget to write me at [email protected]