There are two All Star games today, which is interesting, but even if there were ten none of them would top the greatest All Star game moment ever.
Guys tend to hold back in football or hockey, there is a serious injury risk when you are throwing your body around. But not in baseball. In baseball you can go all-out and you probably won’t get too beat up, unless you’re Ray Fosse.
Every player who started for the American League in the 1934 All Star game is now in the Hall of Fame. Not exactly the toughest lineup to set.
Carl Hubbell, in his second All Star game—the exhibition having started the year before, it was the second All Star Game—took the mound for the National League. Hubbell had thrown in a game just three days before, two relief innings in a loss against Brooklyn.
His latest start was six days ago, when he threw a complete game shutout against the Boston Braves. He struck out five, doubled in two runs, and scored another himself. His record moved to 12-5, yeah, at the All Star break.
Detroit’s Charlie Gehringer steps up to the plate and leads off the game with a single up the middle. He moves to second on an error by center fielder Wally Berger. Not exactly the best time to be bobbling the ball. Maybe it rattled Hubbell, because he walked Heinie Manush. Manush had played in the same outfield as Ty Cobb and in the had gotten thrown out of a World Series game the year before for pulling an ump’s bow tie and letting it snap back in his face.
Maybe it was best to walk him.
Then again with Ruth, Gehrig, and Foxx coming up with no outs and two runners on, it probably wasn’t. Ruth, Gehrig, and Foxx were so good that I don’t even have to mention their first names and you know who I’m talking about. The trio would hit over 1700 home runs in their careers.
Hubbell struck all three of them out.
The NL took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a home run. Then Hubbell walked back out to the mound and struck out Simmons and Cronin. Five All Stars. Five Hall of Famers. In a row. Have a seat.
That’s the opportunity that an All Star game is supposed to offer. A hockey player can score a really slick goal against the best defensemen in the league, but when he’s not going to step up and pop you in the mush like in a real game, how much skill are you really exhibiting? When Babe Ruth steps of to the plate with two strikes on him, he’s not going to swing at half speed.
Hubbell finished his three innings of work having struck out six Hall of Famers. He gave up hits to Gehringer and Bill Dickey, but stranded both. His team lost the game, but Hubbell did something that will never be matched in another mid-season exhibition again. No matter how much it counts.