xml:space="preserve">
An aerial view of the All-Star Game crowd at Memorial Stadium on July 8, 1958.
An aerial view of the All-Star Game crowd at Memorial Stadium on July 8, 1958. (Robert F. Kniesche / Baltimore Sun files)

It's July 8, 1958, and Baltimore is awash in baseball pageantry. The city hosts the 25th All-Star Game and Memorial Stadium is decked in red, white and blue bunting, awaiting more than 50,000 fans and a cast of future Hall of Famers, including Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.

"What a grand dress rehearsal for a World Series!" The Sun opines, though the Orioles are mired in seventh place.

Advertisement
Vice President Richard Nixon tosses out the ceremonial first pitch at the 25th All-Star Game at Memorial Stadium.
Vice President Richard Nixon tosses out the ceremonial first pitch at the 25th All-Star Game at Memorial Stadium. (Baltimore Sun files / July 8, 1958)

On a hot, sultry morning, a 50-car motorcade of players leaves the Emerson and Lord Baltimore hotels, inching toward 33rd Street as the big leaguers toss autographed plastic balls to cheering crowds lining the streets.

Most eyes are on the Orioles' two entries — catcher Gus Triandos (16 home runs) and pitcher Billy "Digger" O'Dell.

Boston Red Sox All-Star Ted Williams, left, shares a laugh with St. Louis Cardinals All-Star Stan Musial at Memorial Stadium on July 8, 1958. It would be Williams' 14th All-Star Game appearance, and Musial's 15th.
Boston Red Sox All-Star Ted Williams, left, shares a laugh with St. Louis Cardinals All-Star Stan Musial at Memorial Stadium on July 8, 1958. It would be Williams' 14th All-Star Game appearance, and Musial's 15th. (Baltimore Sun files / July 8, 1958)

Neither disappoints. Triandos starts for the American League and collects a single before leaving in midgame, to the ire of home fans. But all is forgiven when, in the seventh inning, O'Dell is summoned from the bullpen to protect a 4-3 American League lead.

The little lefthander with the losing (8-9) record retires nine straight National League batters, including five who'll reach Cooperstown, to earn Most Valuable Player. Mays, Aaron, Stan Musial, Ernie Banks and Bill Mazeroski go down quickly.

American League All-Stars manager Casey Stengel is all smiles in the clubhouse as he congratulates White Sox pitcher Early Wynn, left, who was credited with the victory, and Orioles pitcher Billy O'Dell.
American League All-Stars manager Casey Stengel is all smiles in the clubhouse as he congratulates White Sox pitcher Early Wynn, left, who was credited with the victory, and Orioles pitcher Billy O'Dell. (Baltimore Sun files / July 8, 1958)

O'Dell's effort draws praise from AL manager Casey Stengel, of the New York Yankees.

"You done splendid," Stengel tells him. "You made all them fellers look the same size."

It's a sweet win for the city, which hosts its second, and most recent, All-Star Game in 1993 at Camden Yards.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement