Back in the day—long before the Home Run Derby, the Futures Game, and tons of commercialization—the All-Star Game seemingly had a different type of meaning. It really wasn’t about the money, but more of a sense of comradery alongside opportunities for players to represent their respective teams. Such games were played when there was a huge amount of team loyalty among their participants, unless, of course, a player was jettisoned away by means of an unwanted trade to a rival squad.
The Dodgers, rich in their strong heritage and tradition, have been represented extremely well by many outstanding players over the years. While it’s very tough for a pitcher to showcase his talents during a limited appearance of an inning or so, there have been some position players who have made excellent showings at the plate during the Midsummer Classic’s long history.
I decided to take some time to try and determine the best three performances ever by a Dodger player in an ASG. I did my best not to overlook any potential outstanding achievements; but in just case I have, shoot me a note, and I’ll do my best to fix the list below.
The All-Star Game MVP Award was not created until 1962, so it’s hard to say who would have won the award during 1951’s contest. Still, one of the big bats in the game was Dodgers legend Gil Hodges, who ended up going 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored.
In the end, Hodges’ bat helped propel the NL squad to an 8-3 victory.
There were a handful of other Brooklyn players who played in the 1951 affair. Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese and Don Newcombe all made appearances, donning the magnificent Dodger Blue.
Robinson went 2-for-4 with two singles, a run scored and one RBI.
Likewise, the Dodgers were well-represented in the 1973 Midsummer Classic, highlighted by appearances by Manny Mota, Bill Russell, Jim Brewer, Don Sutton and Claude Osteen.
However, it was Willie Davis who stole the show in the end. Davis, who went 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBI, was eventually edged out by fellow outfielder Bobby Bonds in the voting for the game’s MVP Award.
Bond’s went 2-for-2 with a double, a home run and two RBI in the NL’s 7-1 victory.
Many fans will argue that 1996 was Hall-of-Famer Mike Piazza’s best overall year. While most of the players around the league very much look forward to a few days of rest and time with their families, Piazza packed his bags and headed to Veteran’s Stadium in Philadelphia, where he was ultimately crowned with the games’s MVP Award.
In that game, Piazza went 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and two RBI.
Over the entirety of the 1996 season, the Norristown, PA native slashed an insane .336/.422/.563 with 36 bombs and 105 RBI, and he still ended up finished second in the league’s MVP voting to Ken Caminiti of the Padres.
On a side note, our very own Andy Lane Chapman attended that game. If you happen to have a Twitter account, shoot her a note and tell you how you heard all about her experience.
And, be sure to tune into tonight’s version of the game, when Cody Bellinger will get his fair share of hacks while attempting to make history. You never know—maybe Max Muncy will make a cameo at some point and deposit a ball or two into the outfield bleachers.