The first All-Star Game was played in Chicago’s Comiskey Park in 1933. Washington hosted its first All-Star Game in 1937.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was dealing with the controversy surrounding his plan to pack the Supreme Court with extra justices, attended the afternoon game in D.C. and threw out the first pitch from his presidential box.
FBI director J. Edgar Hoover - as well as many members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and military leaders - was at Griffith Stadium, located on Georgia Avenue NW, current site of Howard University Hospital, two miles northeast of the White House.
The American League won the game 8-3. The game took 2 hours. 30 minutes and attendance was 31,391. Box seats were $1.65.
The Yankees dominated the game for the AL. Pitcher Lefty Gomez was the winning pitcher, holding the National League to one hit in three innings. Lou Gehrig had four RBIs, including a third-inning home run. The Yankees’ Red Rolfe had two hits and two RBIs. Joe DiMaggio singled before Gehrig’s home run.
The game will be remembered for the history-changing play in the third inning. The AL’s Earl Averill hit a line drive off NL pitcher Dizzy Dean’s foot. Averill was thrown out, but Dean, the game’s biggest star after Babe Ruth’s retirement, left the game with a broken toe.
It seemed like a harmless injury until the Cardinals decided to pitch Dean before his toe healed, which affected his delivery, caused an arm injury and ended his career at 26. Dean won 30 games for the Cardinals in 1934, 28 the following season.
The Cardinals’ Joe Medwick, the NL Triple Crown winner that year (.374-31-154), went 4-for-5 for the NL.
The Senators, an AL team that finished sixth in an eight-team league in 1937, had three players in the game, but Rick Ferrell, Wes Ferrell and Buddy Myer didn’t get to play.
By the way, the location of Griffith Stadium’s home plate and batters’ boxes are marked in the main concourse near the elevator and bathrooms at the hospital.
Here’s more All-Star history:
* This will be the fifth All-Star Game, held in three different ballparks, for host Washington. The 1956 game was in Griffith Stadium before 28,843. The NL won 7-3 and the game will be remembered for home runs hit by future Hall of Famers: Willie Mays and Stan Musial hit home runs for the NL, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle for the AL. The Senators’ Roy Sievers was the only local representative, going 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter.
* The game returned to D.C. in 1962, this time in the new D.C. Stadium, the first multi-purpose stadium in the country. The NL won 3-1 as the Dodgers’ Maury Wills, who grew up in D.C., was the MVP with two hits, two runs and a steal. Wills stole a record 104 bases that season. Wills pinch-ran for Stan Musial and score the game’s first run on a single by Dick Groat. Pitcher Jim Bunning started for the AL and wound up returning to Washington to represent Kentucky in the U.S. House and Senate. President John F. Kennedy threw out the first pitch and his vice-president, Lyndon Johnson, was also at the game. Attendance was 45,480.
* In 1969, with the stadium now named Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, the NL won 9-3 before 45,259. The Giants’ Willie McCovey hit two home runs and Cincinnati’s Johnny Bench one for the NL. The Senators’ Frank Howard and Detroit’s Bill Freehan hit home runs for the AL. Future Hall of Famers Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson and Phil Niekro each pitched for the NL while the AL lineup included eventual Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Carl Yastrzemski, who made a great catch to rob Bench of a second home run, and Frank Robinson. The game was delayed a day by rain.
* After the Nationals moved from Montreal for the 2005 season, their first All-Stars were pitchers Livan Hernandez and Chad Cordero. The 2005 game, won by the NL 7-5, was played in Detroit’s Comerica Park. Hernandez gave up two hits and two runs in one inning, but he executed a pickoff play against Ichiro Suzuki. Cordero got the final out with a strikeout.
* The only extra base hit by a National in the All-Star game was Bryce Harper’s double in the 2016 game in San Diego. It came against Cole Hamels. The AL won 4-2.
* Ruth - who else? - hit the first home run in All-Star history in the AL’s 4-2 win in 1933. Frankie Frisch of the St. Louis Cardinals hit the first NL home run, also in 1933. Ruth’s home run was in the third inning. Frisch hit his in the sixth inning.
* The Braves’ Henry Aaron has the most All-Star appearances, 25, followed by Willie Mays and Stan Musial with 24 each.
* New York is the city that’s hosted the most All-Star Games, eight. The Yankees have hosted four, the Giants two, the Mets and Brooklyn Dodgers one each.
* The most famous All-Star pitching performance came in 1934 at the Giants’ Polo Grounds. The Giants’ Carl Hubbell reached legendary status by striking out five consecutive batters: Ruth, Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin. Each of those batters wound up in the Hall of Fame.
* The 1981 game was on Aug. 9 in Cleveland after a six-week players strike ended on July 31. The NL won 5-4 and Gary Carter was the MVP after hitting two home runs. The crowd was 72,086 at Municipal Stadium.
* The 2002 All-Star Game ended after 11 innings in a 7-7 tie in Milwaukee’s Miller Park. Both teams ran out of pitching, so commissioner Bud Selig called the game a tie. The most famous picture of that night is of an exasperated Selig, his hands up in the air, knowing that there would not be a winner. The NL had a chance to win in the last of the 11th. Mike Lowell was on second with one out, but the AL’s Freddy Garcia struck out Vicente Padilla and Benito Santiago to leave the game tied.
* That tie led to the idea of having the winner of the All-Star Game determine home field advantage in the World Series. That idea started in 2003 and ended after 14 years. Now World Series home field advantage is decided by won-loss record. Before the tie game, home field advantage in the World Series was alternated between leagues.
* The 2008 game was played in the old Yankee Stadium before it was torn down. It seemed fate didn’t want baseball to leave the historic park. The game went 15 innings and lasted until 1:38 a.m. The AL won 4-3 when Michael Young’s sacrifice fly scored Justin Morneau.
* Major League Baseball used to alternate hosting cities between the AL and NL, but that tradition stopped after the 2014 game in Target Field, home of the Twins. The following seasons, three consecutive NL cities - Cincinnati, San Diego and Miami - each hosted an All-Star Game.
* Nationals Park is hosting its first All-Star Game, leaving Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, the new Yankee Stadium and Atlanta’s SunTrust Field as the only new ballparks to have not hosted.
* The only franchise that hasn’t hosted an All-Star Game is the Tampa Bay Rays. They play in a domed stadium called Tropicana Field and MLB is waiting for the Rays to build a new ballpark before that area gets a game.
* The 1955 game, in Milwaukee’s County Stadium, was played on July 12, the same day as the funeral of Arch Ward, the Chicago Tribune sports editor who came up with the idea of an All-Star Game. The NL won 6-5 on Musial’s game-ending home run in the 12th inning.
* The next two All-Star Games will be in Cleveland’s Progressive Field in 2019 and Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium in 2020. Dodger Stadium last hosted the 1980 game. Cleveland last hosted in 1997.