Dodger Stadium is hosting the All-Star Game for the first time in 42 years, a fact that has been repeated ad nauseam for months. But this is the Dodgers’ fourth time hosting the midsummer classic, having also done so at their two previous stadiums in Los Angeles and Brooklyn.
1949: Ebbets Field, Brooklyn
The first time the Dodgers hosted the All-Star Game was in 1949 in Brooklyn, when the Boys of Summer were nearing the height of their powers. Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese were voted on by the fans to start in the middle of the infield.
It was Robinson’s third season, but what made this game notable was that it was the first All-Star game to feature black players. Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe were Dodgers reserves, and Cleveland’s Larry Doby was an American League All-Star.
In all, the Dodgers had seven All-Stars, with Gil Hodges plus pitchers Preacher Roe and Ralph Branca among the quintet of Brooklyn reserves added by Braves manager Billy Southworth.
Reese and Robinson hit one-and-two for the NL, and both went all nine innings. Reese was hitless in five at-bats, but walked. Robinson doubled, walked and scored three times.
Hodges ran for Johnny Mize in the third inning and played the final six innings at first base, going 1 for 3 with a run scored. Campanella took over at catcher in the fourth and made it the rest of the way, walking once in his three trips to home plate. It was the first of eight NL/AL All-Star Games for both.
Newcombe took over from Spahn mid-inning in the second and recorded eight outs. But he allowed a pair of runs in the fourth inning and hung on to the loss. Preacher Roe pitched a perfect ninth inning, but the NL lost 11-7.
1959: Los Angeles Coliseum
In their second year in Los Angeles, the Dodgers hosted the first All-Star Game west of St. Louis. For many American League players, it was the first time they had played out West, at least in the majors.
It was the second of two All-Star Games in 1959, played on Monday August 3, twenty-seven days after the first All-Star Game of that year, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. There were two All-Star Games in four years (1959-62) to help raise money for the players’ pension fund.
The start time was 4:00 p.m. PT, but strategically chosen to air in the evening on the East Coast. making it the first All-Star night game since the 1942-44 games, during World War II.
Don Drysdale was 22 in his fourth MLB season and would lead the league in strikeouts for the first of three times in his career. Drysdale started both All-Star Games in 1959, two of five classic career midsummer starts.
Drysdale suffered the loss in the game at the Coliseum, giving up three runs in three innings, all of the runs coming from home runs by Frank Malzone and Yogi Berra. Drysdale struck out five, his most in an All-Star Game. He shares the Dodgers record for most strikeouts in an All-Star Game, with Fernando Valenzuela in 1986.
Left fielder Wally Moon, the left-handed hitter known for his “moon hits” on the short left-field line at the Coliseum for extra bases, was also leaving for the NL. It was his first year with the Dodgers, and in the All-Star Game he was 0 for 2 with two walks.
Dodgers infielders Jim Gilliam and Charley Neal made the midsummer classic as reserves. Gilliam hit for Johnny Temple and walked in the fifth inning, and played the last four innings at third base. Gilliam homered in the seventh inning against Billy O’Dell to bring the NL within a run. It was the Dodgers’ fourth home run in All-Star history.
Down two in the ninth with two outs and the tie on base, Gilliam ran aground at first base to end the game. Neal went the last four innings at second base and failed in his only game at bat, in his first of two career All-Star Games.
1980: Dodger Stadium
Perhaps the most anticipated aspect of this All-Star Game was the launch of Diamond Vision, Mitsubishi’s first all-color left-field video card that reportedly cost $3 million.
Four Dodgers were voted by fans to start this game at Dodger Stadium – first baseman Steve Garvey on his seventh straight start and the first Midsummer Classic in which he did not score a run; second baseman Davey Lopes, in his third of four straight All-Star Games, and second starter; outfielder Reggie Smith, 35, entering his seventh and final All-Star game; and shortstop Bill Russell, who made two previous Midsummer Classics (1973, 1976) but it was his first time and his last All-Star Game.
It was the last time the Dodgers had multiple position players in the All-Star Game, until Mookie Betts and Trea Turner pulled off the trick this year.
Neither Dodgers starter reached base, going 0-for-7.
Bob Welch, the Dodgers’ first draft pick in 1977 and who got his first extended starting chance in 1980, played in his first of two career All-Star Games. He pitched three innings and struck out four, but allowed a two-run homer to Fred Lynn that gave the American League its first run of the game.
Jerry Reuss, who pitched a no-hitter in San Francisco eleven days earlier, followed Welch up and pitched a scoreless sixth inning, striking out all three batters — Darrell Porter, Buddy Bell and Tommy John — he faced. The National League rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to regain the lead, making Reuss the record-breaking pitcher. He won the victory.
Reuss is the last Dodgers pitcher to win an All-Star Game. Until now, every time the Dodgers host an All-Star Game, one of their pitchers makes the call.
Will Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin or Tyler Anderson follow suit on Tuesday?