Hubbell's All-Star Feat a Striking Achievement


In baseball's second All-Star game, 45 years ago today, 26 of the 35 players who appeared in the box score later wound up in the Hall of Fame.

In the first and second innings, five of them--Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin--were scheduled to bat in that order against the New York Giants' Carl Hubbell.

Hubbell started shakily, to the dismay of 48,363 of his partisans at New York's Polo Grounds. He gave up a leadoff single to Charley Gehringer, who reached second when center fielder Wally Berger kicked the ball.

Then he walked Heinie Manush, and up to the plate came Ruth, Gehrig going to the on-deck circle.

What followed was one of the most electrifying performances in baseball history. First, he struck out Ruth. Then Gehrig. Then Foxx.

Perspective: Those three batters, who would hit 115 home runs that season, would finish their careers with a combined 1,741 home runs.

Hubbell began the second inning by striking out Simmons and Cronin, who would combine to drive in 205 runs that season.

With the crowd on its feet, roaring, Hubbell then gave up a single to Yankee catcher Bill Dickey, but ended the inning by striking out the American League pitcher, Lefty Gomez. That, wrote the Associated Press' Edward J. Neil, was like "shooting a bird on the ground."

Hubbell, known for having a great screwball, said he simply mixed up his pitches well.

"I had no thought at all of all the strikeouts," he said. "There were men on base. I was really just trying to get out of the inning without getting hurt."

Also on this date: In 1951, in London, Randy Turpin, a 3 1/2-to-1 underdog, beat Sugar Ray Robinson on a decision to win the world middleweight championship.

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