AL's '58 win Baltimore was singular experience Extra-base hits: none

Yankees booed: many

July 11, 1993|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

Most memorable All-Star Games have a common element: momentous home runs. Starting with the first, fittingly hit by Babe Ruth at the inaugural midseason game between the two leagues in 1933, there has been a steady diet of homers in the intervening 60 years.

There was the game-winning shot by Ted Williams in the 1941 All-Star Game, with two out and two on and the American League down one in the ninth. There was Johnny Callison's three-run home run to cap a four-run National League rally in the ninth inning of the 1964 game.

There were the extra-inning home runs by Red Schoendienst in 1950, Stan Musial in 1955, Tony Perez in 1967.

And who can forget Reggie Jackson's shot off the rooftop transformer in 1971, or Fred Lynn's grand slam in 1983 or Bo Jackson's 450-footer to lead off the 1989 game?

And then there was the 1958 All-Star Game in Baltimore, won by the American League, 4-3.

In a game that included 11 future Hall of Famers and four of the top home run hitters in baseball history -- all-time leader Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Williams -- not a single player went deep. There wasn't even an extra-base hit.

But the game did produce a number of unlikely heroes: New York Yankees shortstop Gil McDougald, whose run-scoring single in the sixth broke a 3-3 tie; Kansas City Athletics outfielder Bob Cerv, who made a couple of running catches; and, to the delight of many in the crowd of 48,829, Orioles pitcher Billy O'Dell, who preserved a one-run lead by retiring all nine National Leaguers he faced in relief.

"From what I remember, it was a pretty dull game," said former Orioles catcher Gus Triandos, who started for the American League and played the first six innings.

It didn't start out that way. Shortly after Vice President Richard Nixon threw out the first ball, the National League scuffed up American League starter Bob Turley of the Yankees for three runs and three hits in the first 1 2/3 innings. Turley compounded his problems with two walks, a wild pitch and a hit batsman.

It was a disappointing homecoming for Turley, a former Oriole who had been traded to the hated Yankees in a deal that brought Triandos, his old Army buddy, to Baltimore. Turley and his wife still lived in Lutherville at the time of the 1958 All-Star Game.

"I didn't do too well," recalled Turley, who won the major leagues' Cy Young Award -- in those days, only one was given -- that season. "It was just one of those games when you don't have any of your pitches going. It was one of those weird things."

The American League pulled to a 3-3 tie in the fifth. After Frank Malzone of the Boston Red Sox led off the sixth with a single to left, Triandos was scheduled to hit. Instead, Yankees manager Cas- ey Stengel sent one of his own -- catcher Yogi Berra -- up to hit. It didn't play well in Baltimore, especially since Berra was batting .227 at the time. Boos filled the stadium.

"I thought the Baltimore people treated me splendid in the parade this morning," Stengel said after the game. (A motorcade had taken the players from the old Emerson Hotel on Baltimore Street to Memorial Stadium that morning). "Then when I took Triandos out . . . faugh," Stengel said, imitating a foghorn.

"I knew I was going to get it when I sent up Berra for their catcher," he added.

"I knew I was going to get it, too," said Berra, standing nearby in the locker room. "They boo us all over the league, but I believe they do a better job of it here than anywhere else."

It was as if there were three teams that sweltering day: the American League, the National League and the Yankees. They had nine players on the roster. Though the home crowd wasn't happy, Triandos thought it was only fair.

"I had played more than I thought I would," recalled Triandos, who went 1-for-2 in his first All-Star appearance.

There were loud cheers when Berra popped out to third baseman Frank Thomas.

McDougald singled to left-center, scoring Malzone with the go-ahead run. This time, there were boos and cheers -- boos because a Yankee had knocked in the winning run and cheers that the American League had taken the lead.

Wrote Robert Creamer in Sports Illustrated: "The boos and cheers were so perfectly blended that it seemed each fan must (( have booed with his lungs and applauded with his hands."

Stengel, sensing that the crowd was ready to start rooting for the National League, brought in O'Dell. He had been something of a surprise choice in the first place, considering his 8-8 record at the break. But as O'Dell said recently, "I always seemed to pitch well against the Yankees."

"I didn't expect Casey to put me in because he had Whitey Ford ready," O'Dell said. "I think he did that because the crowd booed when he pinch hit for Gus."

O'Dell went to work, retiring Johnny Logan, Mays and Lee Walls in the seventh. In the eighth, Stan Musial, Aaron and Ernie Banks went down, followed by Thomas, Bill Mazeroski and Del Crandall in the ninth.

After the game, Stengel said of O'Dell: "That boy of theirs was something though now, wasn't he? Made all them fellers look the same size."

Asked after the game whether the background in center field at Memorial Stadium proved problematic for the National League hitters, Musial said: "The trouble wasn't the background at all. It was facing pitchers you didn't know. I didn't know Bill O'Dell had a slider until the eighth. I'll know O'Dell the next time."

In the 35 years since it was played, most of the memories from Baltimore's first All-Star Game have dimmed. That's if there were many memories at all, other than those belonging to O'Dell. Perhaps it was best summed up by Cerv, a 32-year-old journeyman who was appearing in his first and last All-Game.

Now in retirement in Lincoln, Neb., Cerv was asked recently what he remembered from that July day in 1958. "I remember," he said, "that we won."

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