Ultimate Star Wins First All-Star Game


It had to turn out the way it did.

Who else but Babe Ruth should have won the first major league All-Star game with a home run?

The tradition of baseball all-star games dates to 1858, when they were called "picked nines." But the modern series began when Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward persuaded owners to stage a game to help celebrate Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition in 1933.

Sixty-nine years ago, 49,200 turned out at Chicago's Comiskey Park to watch the game's greatest players. Paul Waner, Bill Terry and Carl Hubbell were on the National League team, matched against Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Al Simmons and Lefty Grove.

Ruth was 38, overweight and in his next-to-last-season as a Yankee. He would hit .301 with 34 home runs and drive in 103 runs in '33, well off his '32 season of .341, 41 homers and 137 RBIs.

In the first inning, he struck out. In the third, after pitcher Bill Hallahan had walked Charlie Gehringer with the American League leading, 1-0, Ruth hit a 1-1 low curve on a line into the right-field seats, giving the AL a 3-0 lead on the way to a 4-2 victory.

Having hit what would prove to be the winning blow, Ruth then saved the victory.

The National League was rallying in the eighth when Ruth made a long run and crashed into the right-field fence while spearing a drive by Chick Hafey. American League Manager Connie Mack then removed Ruth from the game, to a booming ovation.

Also on this date: In 1957, Althea Gibson, 29, won the Wimbledon women's singles title with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Darlene Hard. . . . In 1991, Steffi Graf, despite family problems, scored a 6-4, 3-6, 8-6 win over Gabriela Sabatini for her third Wimbledon championship.

In 1998, Se Ri Pak defeated amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn on the second hole of sudden death to win the 53rd U.S. Women's Open golf championship.

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