The Orioles have had 50 players selected for the All-Star Game, and four of the luminaries -- Billy O'Dell (1958), Brooks Robinson (1966), Frank Robinson (1971) and Cal Ripken (1991) -- were named Most Valuable Player. Some Orioles could thank their lucky stars. Others were just star-crossed.
July 8, 1958
Manager Casey Stengel of the Yankees drew loud boos from the crowd when he pinch hit New York's Yogi Berra for the Orioles' Gus Triandos in the sixth inning, but he made it up to Baltimore by bringing in Billy O'Dell to pitch in the seventh. O'Dell was only 8-8 during the regular season to that point, but the Orioles' left-hander buzzed through a National League lineup that included Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial, pitching three hitless innings and permitting only one ball to be hit out of the infield to save a 4-3 victory. After the game, Stengel wondered aloud what the crowd's reaction would have been if, after O'Dell had worked two perfect innings, he had brought in his own Whitey Ford or Ryne Duren for the ninth. "Suppose I had of taken out that pitcher of theirs -- what do you think they'd have said?" With a wink, Stengel added, "I didn't think of it, though, because he was very good. That boy of theirs was something though now, wasn't he? Made all them fellers look the same size."
Aug. 3, 1959
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
In 1958, Jerry Walker pitched for the Knoxville Smokies of the Single-A South Atlantic League. In 1959, he was the American League's starting pitcher in the second of two All-Star Games the leagues played that season. This was the first of four straight years the teams met twice, and the new wrinkle did not amuse Orioles manager Paul Richards, whose pitching staff contributed five innings to Game 2. "Whoever is responsible for letting this game be railroaded through when no one seems interested in it should be censored severely," he said. "It's a miserable act of malfeasance." Walker, who later became general manager of the Detroit Tigers, gave up one run on two hits in three innings of a 5-3 victory. He is one of two retired All-Star Game winning pitchers with fewer than 50 career major-league victories. He had 37; Dean Stone had 29.
July 12, 1966
Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Brooks Robinson, who played in 18 All-Star Games, had his finest moment in the 1966 game, becoming the first player from a losing team to be named MVP. Playing 10 innings in temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees, Robinson had three of the AL's six hits and scored the AL's only run, coming home on a wild pitch after tripling off the Los Angeles Dodgers' Sandy Koufax. Robinson set a record by handling eight chances flawlessly in the field in the AL's 2-1 loss. "They said it was 115 degrees out there on the field, but it feels like 200 under those helmets," Robinson said. "It gets hot in Little Rock, but nothing like that. Boy, it was steaming."
Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer
July 14, 1970
Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati
Brooks Robinson, one of a club-record seven Orioles players at the game, went 2-for-3, including a two-RBI triple, and scored a run in a 5-4, 12-inning loss. Jim Palmer, 24, picked for the first of his six All-Star squads and making the first of his four starts, struck out three in three scoreless innings. The other Orioles at the game were Mike Cuellar, Davey Johnson, Dave McNally, Boog Powell and Frank Robinson. And, of course, manager Earl Weaver.
July 13, 1971
Tiger Stadium, Detroit
This All-Star Game is remembered most for Reggie Jackson's 520-foot home run off a light tower in right field, but after the game Jackson just wanted to talk about the Orioles' Frank Robinson, who was voted Most Valuable Player. Robinson hit a two-run, opposite-field home run off the Pittsburgh Pirates' Dock Ellis in the third inning to spearhead a 6-4 win, the AL's first since 1962 and last until 1983. Robinson, who was named to 12 All-Star teams, became the first player to hit an All-Star home run for each league and ended an 0-for-14 All-Star Game drought. "To me, Frank Robinson is the best," Jackson said. "I'm not trying to make him a god or a saint or anything, but if I could walk in his image, it would be tremendous."
July 25, 1972
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
Jim Palmer had told the media he would "rather be getting a tan in Ocean City" than be at the All-Star Game. Asked why Orioles manager Earl Weaver had selected him to start the game, Palmer had quipped, "He probably has something against me." Palmer's pitching was as sharp as his wit. He gave up one hit and no runs in three innings. Teammate Dave McNally took the 4-3 loss in the 10th inning, when Joe Morgan's single to right-center scored Nate Colbert, who had walked and moved to second base on a bunt.
July 8, 1980
Steve Stone entered the All-Star Game with a 78-79 lifetime record, but he needed just 24 pitches to throw three perfect innings. "When I first got out there, I really didn't have a very good curve," he said of the pitch that NL hitters had been anticipating. "So I went with my fastball and stayed with it. I was pumped up." The fastball was good enough to make him the first man to keep the NL hitless through three innings since Denny McLain in 1966. "I couldn't have asked for a better three innings," Stone said after a 4-2 loss.
Aug. 9, 1981
Ken Singleton didn't lose his hitting stroke, or his sense of the odd coincidence, during the 50-day players' strike. Heading into Cleveland Stadium for the All-Star Game, the first major-league game in eight weeks, the Orioles' outfielder happened upon Tom Seaver, his old New York Mets teammate, and congratulated him on getting his 3,000th strikeout earlier in the season. "It's kind of ironic," Singleton said, "that I congratulated him and then a couple of hours later hit a homer off him." The second-inning shot was the first run of the game, and when Singleton singled and scored in a three-run sixth to give the AL a 4-2 lead, he appeared to be the front-runner for game MVP honors. The NL rallied, however, and won, 5-4. The Montreal Expos' Gary Carter, who homered twice, earned the honor.
July 9, 1991
Two months earlier, Cal Ripken asked out of a home run-hitting contest in Rochester, N.Y., concerned that the power show could short-circuit his stroke. But the day before the All-Star Game, he took part in the Gatorade Home Run Derby and homered on seven of his first eight swings. He finished with 12 in 20 swings -- three fewer than the other seven competitors combined. "Every pitch coming in looked big. Huge. Like a beach ball. My arms started getting tired," Ripken said. "I don't know what happened out there, but I'm not letting this bat out of my sight." In the All-Star Game the next day, Ripken used a different bat but his same sweet stroke. He singled sharply up the middle off Tom Glavine with his first swing, and then hit a 416-foot, three-run homer off former teammate Dennis Martinez that sparked a 4-2 victory. He was named the game's MVP and, at the end of the season, the league's MVP.
Cal Ripken and Mike Mussina
July 13, 1993
In the first All-Star Game in Baltimore since 1958, Orioles fans got to release a lot of pent-up lung power. During the player introductions, they gave hometown hero Cal Ripken what was, until the magical nights of 2,130 and 2,131, the loudest, longest cheer in Oriole Park history. "The ovation was beyond what anyone could comprehend," Ripken said. "I've had a lot of good things happen in my career. But this has to be No. 1." Later that night, the mood turned ugly. Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina decided on his own to warm up in the eighth inning and was greeted by cheers of "We want Mike!" When he wasn't called in to pitch the ninth, fans booed Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston and his closer, Duane Ward. Weeks later, Mussina apologized to Gaston "for any embarrassment I caused unintentionally."
Pub Date: 7/06/97