25-Year Anniversary of the Mid-Summer Classic in Toronto
It’s not often a major-league baseball all-star game is held in Canada.
The first one was held July 13, 1982 at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium and the second one was held July 9, 1991 at Toronto’s SkyDome.
There hasn’t been an all-star game played in this country since 1991 so the 25 anniversary of the one in Toronto is worth noting.
The American League beat the National League 4-2 before 52,383 fans with the help of game MVP Cal Ripken Jr.’s three-run homer off of Expos pitcher and former Orioles teammate Dennis Martinez in the third inning.
The homer prompted a next-day, front-page headline of Cal The Ripper! in the Toronto Sun. The photo shows Ripken teeing off at the plate and Martinez in motion, finishing his pitch.
Jimmy Key of the Blue Jays tossed one inning to emerge as the pitcher of record for the winning side. Martinez entered the game in the third in place of starter Tom Glavine and got Roberto Alomar of the Blue Jays to fly to left. Rickey Henderson singled to centre and Wade Boggs beat out an infield single to second before Ripken homered.
The NL side opened the scoring in the first when Tony Gwynn singled and Will Clark singled, moving Gwynn to third. Gwynn scampered home when Bobby Bonilla reached on a single near the pitcher’s mound. The NL added its second run in the fourth when former Expo Andre Dawson, then with the Cubs, hit a solo homer.
The Al squad scored its other run in the seventh when Harold Baines delivered a sacrifice fly, scoring Joe Carter of the Jays. Ivan Calderon of the Expos was the starting left fielder for the NL and went 1-for-2. Carter, Key and Alomar were the Jays’ reps in the game.
John McSherry gained notoriety for being the only umpire to officiate both all-star games in Canada. He was at second base for the game in Montreal and at first for the game in Toronto. That’s a trivia item for you.
One of my souvenirs of that game is a cap that has never been worn. Writing for the Ottawa Sun in those days, I remember taking a boat across to scenic Centre Island in Toronto the day before the game along with numerous other writers and executives from many teams, including Expos GM Dave Dombrowski.
That same day before the game, Ripken captured the Home Run Derby title, as he hit 12 home runs over the course of two rounds.
What is surprising is that the Jays and Toronto have not been awarded an all-star game since.