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First U.S. All-Star Baseball Game 

First U.S. All-Star Baseball Game 

U.S. #2046 was issued on the 50th anniversary of the first All-Star Game.

On July 6, 1933, the first All-Star game was played at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois.

The game was an event several years in the making. After enjoying a boom in popularity in the 1920s, baseball game attendance dropped dramatically – about 40% – in the early 1930s. And those that did attend games chose the bleachers, which only cost 50¢, over the more expensive box seats.

Soon baseball owners began trying whatever they could to increase attendance. They made smaller rosters, fired coaches, and cut wages. They also offered discounts, free tickets for women, grocery giveaways, and the first-ever night games.

U.S. #728//C18 – Stamps issued for the Century of Progress Exposition.

Then in 1933, the city of Chicago was preparing for its world’s fair, the Century of Progress International Exposition. Mayor Edward Kelly was determined to make the fair a success, so he reached out to the published of the Chicago Tribune to suggest holding a major athletic event as part of the events.

The publisher mentioned the idea to his sports editor, Arch Ward, who then suggested a one-time “Game of the Century.” The game would pit the finest players of the American and National Leagues against each other. To further arouse interest, the public would get to vote on each team’s lineup. Ward was so convinced the game would be popular, he told his publisher he could take any losses out of his paycheck. Plus, they announced that all proceeds from the game (totaling $45,000) would go to a charity for retired players.

In the weeks leading up to the game, Ward ran regular stories to promote the game. With ballots printed in papers across the country, several hundred thousand people cast votes for their favorite players. Babe Ruth had the most with about 100,000. Other popular players included Lefty Grove, Jimmy Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin.

U.S. #3517 from the Legendary Playing Fields issue.

The big day arrived on July 6, 1933. Some 47,595 fans filled Comiskey Park. For many of the players, it was their first time meeting players from the opposing league. No surprise, one of the game’s big highlights was Babe Ruth’s two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning. He also made a dramatic catch against the scoreboard in the eighth. In the end, the American League won the game 4 to 2. Years later, 20 of the 36 players were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as both managers, five coaches, and two umpires.

U.S. #3408 pictures several players from the first All-Star Game.

The game, dubbed the “midsummer classic” was so popular it was held again the following year, and every since except for 1945 because of wartime travel restrictions.

Click here and here for brief video clips from the first All-Star Game.

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6 responses to "First U.S. All-Star Baseball Game "

6 thoughts on “First U.S. All-Star Baseball Game ”

  1. Quite fitting that the player who is credited with the growth in popularity of the game in the years prior starred in the first All Star game. And two participants had career batting averages of .300 or higher, on base percentage of .400 or higher, hit 500 or more career home runs, and career slugging of .600 or higher.. And there are only three in the history of the game. None of the cheaters who took banned supplements or drugs can lay claim to being in this exclusive group.

    Reply
    • I agree, but to be fair…we have no idea what kind of substances they were taking. If you believe the athletes of that era were free of substances that are band today, I’ve got some beachfront property in Arizona that I would like to sell you.

      Reply
      • The substances that were used 1998-2005 were not even known in the 1920’s and 30’s.
        It is just that some want to try a revise history to build up those current players who cheated.

        Reply
  2. Fascinating article. It is understandable that attendance fell off in the early 1930’s due to the depression and all the people out of work. But even given that, Baseball, the national sport, survived and prospered. A wonderful and lasting innovation, the all star game. It affords many fans the opportunity of seeing their favorite, and the best players, in action against others of the same caliber. I only wish I could have seen Satchel Paige in action. He is arguably, the greatest pitcher of all time. What a treat that would have been.

    Reply
  3. I believe that even Roman Gladiators may have taken chemical substances, in order to withstand the pain inflicted on them, and becoming the victors that some did achieve.

    Reply

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