For baseball fans of the Baby Boomer generation, next week’s All-Star game will bring back a flood of memories. Back in the day, the mid-season classic was a must-watch event for youngsters because they had the opportunity to see many baseball heroes for the first time. You might have read about them in newspapers or magazines, but with only an occasional game on TV and no inter-league play, here were the stars of the game up close. So, let’s set the baseball time machine for July 13th, 1954 and see what the teams looked like in front of 69,751 fans at Cleveland Stadium.
NL Starting Lineup
1) Granny Hamner, Phillies 2B – At age 27, this was his third consecutive All-Star appearance.
2) Al Dark, Giants SS – He played all 154 games for the pennant-winning New Yorkers and hit 20 HR’s.
3) Duke Snider, Dodgers CF – Contributed three hits and a walk in the game…’54 was his second of five straight 40 HR seasons.
4) Stan Musial, Cardinals RF – A perennial All-Star, “Stan The Man” had a season where he hit .330 with 35 HR’s & 126 RBI’s.
5) Ted Kluszewski, Reds 1B – “Klu” hit a HR off Bob Porterfield of the Senators in the 5th inning and led the NL with 49 round-trippers during the season.
6) Ray Jablonski, Cardinals 3B – Had 112 RBI’s as a rookie in ’53 and 104 in ’54, but was traded to the Reds before the ’55 season and never had another productive year.
7) Jackie Robinson, Dodgers LF – Had two RBI’s in the game, but this was his last All-Star appearance.
8) Roy Campanella, Dodgers C – ’54 was “Campy’s” worst season, but he rebounded to with the NL MVP in ’55.
9) Robin Roberts, Phillies P – The workhorse ace of the Phils staff, he led the NL in Wins (23), Complete Games (29), Innings Pitched (336+), Strikeouts (185), ERA (3.19) & WHIP (1.025)…how much would that be worth on your Fantasy team?
AL Starting Lineup
1) Minnie Minoso, White Sox LF – The “Cuban Comet” led the AL with 18 Triples during the season.
2) Bobby Avila, Indians 2B – Jump-started the Tribe’s magical season by leading the AL with a .341 Batting Average.
3) Mickey Mantle, Yankees CF – This was the 3rd of 16 All-Star appearances and ’54 was the first season he topped 100 RBI’s.
4) Yogi Berra, Yankees C – His 125 RBI’s in ’54 was the highest total of his career and helped him capture the AL MVP.
5) Al Rosen, Indians 3B – “Flip” had 100+ RBI’s for the 5th consecutive season.
6) Ray Boone, Tigers 3B – Had 20+ HR’s for five consecutive campaigns in the mid-50’s.
7) Hank Bauer, Yankees RF – Another solid contributor to the Yankees dynasty, this was the his 3rd straight All-Star selection.
8) Chico Carrasquel, White Sox SS – Played every game for the Pale Hose and led the AL with 718 plate appearances.
9) Whitey Ford, Yankees P – The Bronx Bombers’ Ace for over a decade, his lifetime winning percentage was .690.
> The American League won the game 11-9 with three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning…Al Rosen hit two home runs and had five RBI’s.
> Both Ray Boone and Gus Bell hit home runs. Ironically, each of these players ended up being the patriarch of three-generation MLB families. Boone was the Father of Bob Boone as well as the Grandfather of Aaron & Bret. Bell was the Father of Buddy Bell and Grandfather of David & Mike.
> Larry Doby, the first AL player to break the color barrier, hit a pinch-hit HR.
> Ted Williams missed almost all of the previous two seasons serving in the Korean War, but did appear as a pinch-hitter late in the game.
> Willie Mays missed the ’53 season due to military service and even though he won the MVP in ’54, he was a reserve on this roster, replacing Snider later in the game.
> Other future Hall-of-Famers on the bench included Red Schoendienst, Pee Wee Reese, Nellie Fox & George Kell. In the bullpen, you could find Warren Spahn & Bob Lemon.
> Casey Stengel managed the AL team while Walter Alston was the skipper of the NL squad.
> Dean Stone of the Senators was the winning pitcher in his only All-Star appearance and Virgil “Fire” Trucks of the White Sox secured the Save.
> Rookie Gene Conley of the Braves was the losing pitcher. At 6′ 8″, he also played six seasons in the NBA with the Celtics & Knicks during the 50’s & 60’s.
> Other memorable players included Gil Hodges, Carl Erskine, Harvey Haddix, Jimmy Piersall, Mike Garcia & Allie Reynolds.
> As with most All-Star games, there were also some rather obscure members of the squads. Do you remember Randy Jackson, Don Mueller, Marv Grissom, Jim Wilson, Jim Finigan, Sandy Consuegra & Bob Keegan?
65 years later and the names still burn bright.