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MLB All-Star Game: 5 Greatest Performances

First played in 1933 at the Chicago World’s Fair, the MLB All-Star Game has become one of the most anticipated sporting events of the baseball season.

American League right fielder Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees (99) at bat during the 2021 MLB All-Star Game. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Affectionately known as the “Midsummer Classic”, the MLB All-Star Game brings together baseball’s best players for one night, with National League stars taking on their American League rivals.

Over the nine-decade history of the MLB All-Star Game, baseball fans have been treated to spectacular feats from some of the best players to ever play the game.

Here’s a look at a shortlist of the greatest MLB All-Star Game performances of all time.

1. Ichiro Suzuki – Seattle Mariners
2007 – AT&T Park, San Francisco

The 2007 MLB season began as a particularly memorable season for Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.

The Japanese superstar hit safely in 25 consecutive games early in the season and established himself as one of baseball’s most dangerous base robbers while setting an AL record with 45 consecutive stolen bases without getting caught. take.

Ichiro’s hitting and speed on the bases also propelled him into the MLB All-Star Game record books that year.

Ichiro Suzuki in action for the Seattle Mariners
Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki was no stranger to the Midsummer Classic, making ten appearances. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert – USA TODAY Sports

Having already hit safely in each of his first two at bats, Ichiro put the fans on their feet by hitting his third hit of the game – a hard-hit fly ball to right-center that flew off the wall, allowing the speedster of the Mariners to round the bases for the first and only inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history.

Not only did he earn MLB All-Star Game honors with that single at-bat, but Ichiro also put the American League ahead for good on the way to a 5-4 win in the seventh of his 10 appearances in the Midsummer Classic.

2. Pedro Martinez – Boston Red Sox
1999 – Fenway Park, Boston

It had been 38 years since Boston hosted the MLB All-Star Game at venerable Fenway Park.

Hometown fans in attendance appreciated the added bonus of seeing Pedro Martinez start the American League, and the Boston Red Sox the ace thrower was not disappointed.

Already enjoying a spectacular campaign that earned him AL Pitcher of the Month awards in April, May and June, Martinez turned in one of his most notable performances of the year for the Midsummer Classic.

The 27-year-old needed to throw just 28 total pitches in a two-inning no-hitter performance, during which he set a new MLB All-Star Game record by striking out the first four batters. of the National League that he faced, and collected five K in total.

Pedro Martinez in action for the Boston Red Sox
Pedro Martinez set a new MLB All-Star Game record in 1999 by knocking out the first four National League batters he faced. Mandatory Credit: Photo by USA TODAY Sports

In addition to earning the 4-1 American League victory, Martinez also earned MVP honors on the night.

His historic performance proved to be one of many during a historic 1999 season which he capped with the second of three career Cy Young Award.

3. Ted Williams – Boston Red Sox
1946 – Fenway Park, Boston

After being canceled in 1945 due to World War II-related travel restrictions, the MLB All-Star Game returned in 1946.

An air of anticipation hung over the baseball fields around the Majors that year, as a number of baseball players returned to action after returning home from serving in the war effort in the ‘foreign.

Among them was arguably baseball’s greatest clean hitter, Ted Williams.

“The Splendid Splinter” showed no signs of rust as it returned to the majors after a three-year absence, racking up a sparkling .347 average with 22 home runs heading into the All-Star break.

Williams continued that momentum in the Midsummer Classic, delighting hometown fans by setting five All-Star Game records with four hits, two home runs, four runs, five RBIs and 10 total bases.

Each of those records still stands today, with Williams remaining in sole possession of the records he set for most runs and total bases.

However, the legendary Red Sox hitter would not win the MLB All-Star Game MVP award, which was only introduced 16 years later.

4. Cal Ripken Jr. – Baltimore Orioles
2001 – Safeco Field, Seattle

Over his 20-year major league career, Cal Ripken Jr. not only established himself as the most enduring player of all time, but also one of the most prolific.

Cal Ripken Jr. is an All-Star Game legend
Cal Ripken Jr. broke the All-Star Game record books with 19 All-Star Game appearances. Mandatory Credit: Photo by USA TODAY Sports (c) 1991 USA TODAY Sports

Along with his highly publicized march to the record for most consecutive games played, surpassing the legendary Lou Gehrig, “Iron Man” also rewrote the MLB All-Star Game record books with 19 consecutive appearances and 17 straight starts.

The most memorable of them came in 2001.

Voted by fans to start the Midsummer Classic at third base, AL teammate Alex Rodriguez extended a move to Ripken that drew roars from the crowd, giving up his position at shortstop in midfield. for a long time.

Ripken then entertained the crowds by drawing the contest’s first blood, a fifth-inning first home run that gave the American League an early lead on the way to a 4-1 victory.

Unsurprisingly, Ripken earned MVP honors in what would turn out to be the last MLB All-Star Game appearance of his illustrious career.

5. Bo Jackson – Kansas City Royals
1989 – Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim

Few athletes have left their mark on professional sports like Bo Jackson did in the 1980s.

After bursting onto the sports scene as a Heisman Trophy-winning running back with the Auburn Tigers, Jackson also established himself as a starting outfielder with the Kansas City Royals.

After becoming the first player in history to be named to both an NFL Pro Bowl team and an MLB All-Star, Jackson’s incredible athleticism and versatility were on full display when he entered the field for the 1989 Midsummer Classic.

Jackson thrilled AL fans in the first inning, robbing the National League of two runs with a sensational catch in center field.

Bo Jackcon was a history maker for the Royals
History-maker Bo Jackson has become the first player in history to be named to both an NFL Pro Bowl team and an MLB All-Star. Mandatory Credit: Photo by USA TODAY Sports

He then followed that up with clutch performances at home plate, connecting on a home run in the first inning to open the American League scoring before driving into the second inning kickoff that sealed a victory by 5-3 in AL.

Jackson would go on to claim MLB All-Star Game MVP honors in what many observers claim is one of the finest moments of a baseball career that ended far too soon, due to injury.