July inevitably leads to memories of All-Star games, whether they be of heroics on the field or the injustice of players who were snubbed by not getting selected. Since nearly the beginning of this century, all baseball fans look back on the 2002 contest with a sense of regret.
Because both managers ( Joe Torre of the New York Yankees and Bob Brenley of the Arizona Diamondbacks) ran out of players to use, the game was called off in the eleventh inning with the score tied at seven. Commissioner Bud Selig was especially upset since the game had been played at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers team that he had once owned.
He immediately undertook the task of making sure there would never be another Midsummer Classic without a winner, and fortunately that 2002 game remains the only one to end in a draw. Exactly thirty three years before then, however, a quick glance at the box score might lead one assume that the All-Star game must have ended in a tie.
Neither team managed to get an RBI in the contest, so in the last row in the box score the zeroes seem to indicate that the game ended in a scoreless tie. There were probably many of those in the regular season of 1968, when pitchers were so dominant that Major League Baseball decided to lower the mound beginning the following year.
The American League hitters, in spite of a lineup with the likes of Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle, Brooks Robinson and Carl Yastremski, did not record even one single. Their offense was limited to three doubles by Tony Oliva of the Minnesota Twins, Don Wert of the Detroit Tigers, and Jim Fregosi of the California Angels, none of which produced a single run.
When one considers who was on the mound facing them, the lack of offense seems less surprising. Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal and Tom Seaver were four of the mighty arms that combined to shut out the A. L. hitters.
Their opponents from the Senior Circuit proved nearly as unproductive on offense, even though the lineup featured more future Hall of Famers. Willie Mays was in the lead off spot, followed by legends such as Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Ron Santo and Tony Perez.
Even with that cadre of prominent sluggers, the National League hitters could not come up with a single run batted in. With all blanks in that column, it would be easy to assume that neither team scored.
Two spaces to the left in the box score, the run column shows the only difference in the two clubs that day. The N. L. managed to score a run, when Mays crossed the plate as his San Francisco Giants teammate Willie McCovey bounced into a double play off of Boston ace Luis Tiant in the bottom of the first.
After that meager run in the initial inning, the pitchers on both teams dominated the offenses. That minimal production accounted for the lowest scoring game in All Star history but, regardless what the RBI column indicates, it was not a tie.