by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
The midsummer classic will be here soon. I remember the first Major League All Star game that I watched in 1956 on a small black and white TV set during summer playground days at Alice Smith School in Hopkins. The National League won that game by a 7-3 score. The lineup was filled with future hall of famers, Frank Robinson, Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Ernie Banks. The American League team was not to be forgotten, graced by Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Al Kaline. Home Runs were hit by Mantle and Williams for the AL, and Mays and Musial for the NL.
On to 1957. The All Star Game was set for Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. Cincinnati fans stuffed the ballot box with votes for their Redlegs and elected seven players to start for the National League. Only Stan Musial of the Cardinals was elected to start at first base instead of Cincy’s George Crowe. Commissioner Ford Frick was extremely upset by the voting results and replaced George Bell and Wally Post with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. However, Redlegs’ Don Hoak, Roy McMillan, Ed Bailey and Johnny Temple all started along with a deserving Frank Robinson. The next year voting was returned to players, managers, and coaches only.
Baseball fans, is this sounding familiar? I admit that I am a grumpy old man and more importantly a skeptical cynic. (Try saying that three times real fast!) I respect the Kansas City Royals and what they have accomplished in the wake of Charles O. Finley, however this year something is not right. Fans are allowed to vote on the internet and I am convinced that some outrageous techy developed a computer program to cast millions of votes for Royals, which will ruin the spirit of the All Star Game. Should Eric Hosmer start instead of Miguel Cabrera or Albert Pujols? Would you put Lorenzo Cain ahead of Mike Trout on your ballot? Nelson Cruz, Jason Kipnis, Josh Donaldson, and Prince Fielder are all having great years and probably will be selected, but deserve to be starters, I think. Sorry I did not mention anyone from our second place Twins. I am still a Twins fan but I’m afraid our only representative will be Glen Perkins, selected by the manager.
I think it’s time for Commissioner, Rob Manfred, to take a page from Ford Frick’s history book and make some adjustments. Even if he allows the votes to prevail this year, it is time to give the ballots back to the players, managers, and coaches. If this year’s All Star Game features the Royals vs. the National League I will protest by not watching. So there!