Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 9, 1968: The National League Outduel The American League In Houston

On July 9, 1968, a number of firsts happened at the All Star game at Astrodome in Houston, Texas. It was the first 1-0 decision, the first time the game was played indoors, and the first time it was played on an artificial turf. The only run of the game came in the first, the inning began with a single by Willie Mays off of Luis Tiant. After a pickoff attempt got passed Harmon Killebrew, Mays trotted into second on the error, then Tiant's day got worse as he threw a ball four wild pitch over the head of Curt Flood which moved Mays to third and put another duck on the pond. Tiant was able to induce Willie McCovey into a double play that eliminated Flood and himself, but Mays would score and unbeknownst to him it would be the only run of the contest. The game was a combined  pitching duel by both teams. After Jim Fregosi of the Angels began the game with a leadoff double, 20 straight American League hitters went down in order as Don Drysdale, Juan Marichal, Steve Carlton baffled batter after batter. The American Leaguers only managed two more hits, both of them were doubles off of Tom Seaver, both times their rally ended with strikeouts. Ron Reed and Jerry Koosman pitched a perfect ninth inning to secure the National League win. The six National League hurlers struck out 11 men, with five of those strikeouts coming from Tom Seaver.  The American League pitchers did a pretty decent job of their own after Luis Tiant gave up the first inning run, they struck out nine but couldn't get any run support to give them a shot at victory. Willie Mays was named the MVP of the contest which might not have happened if it wasn't for an injury to Pete Rose that led to Mays getting the starting nod. While most All Star games feature a plethora of offense, this one featured some of the finest pitching an All Star game had ever seen.

Here'as the box score: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NLS/NLS196807090.shtml

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