As Kansas City is gearing up to host their first All Star Game in almost 40 years, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the last All Star Game played in KC - the 1973 All Star Game.
Its interesting that the last time the All Star Game was played in KC it was the 40th Anniversary, and now here are almost 40 years later for the next game in KC.
To show how time really flies by and things change, when this game was played, Royals Stadium had just opened earlier that year:
Now, 39 years later, Kauffman Stadium is the 6th oldest park in the majors, behind only Fenway, Wrigley, Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium, and the Oakland Coliseum.
Thanks to the astroturf, the rain that came pouring down the morning of the game
didn't keep the game from being postponed as they were able to vacum the water off the field.
Jim "Catfish" Hunter was the American League starting pitcher:
Here is a nice shot of Catfish getting ready to face Hank Aaron.
Catfish held the NL scoreless through the first two innings, but in the third he got hit on the hand by a shot off the bat of Billy Williams:
A's teammate Ken Holtzman came in to replace Hunter, but do you notice something strange?
Catfish was wearing a yellow A's jersey while Holtzman was wearing green. It wasn't just these two A's who were mixing it up though - here's a shot from later in the game with Sal Bando and Bert Campaneris wearing different colored jerseys
Reggie Jackson went with the yellow A's jersey, and here he is warming up with a very unusual batting "donut":
Jackson doubled off NL starter Rick Wise
and was driven in by hometown hero Amos Otis to score the first run of the game.
In the top of the 3rd, Bert Blyleven comes in and allows Pete Rose and Joe Morgan to reach base. Up comes Cesar Cedeno who doubles to score Rose to tie the game.
Notice anything unusual in the picture above? Cedeno is wearing white shoes. From what I can tell, this is the first time in an All Star game that we see a player wearing white shoes that aren't part of his team's official uniform (like the A's). I've watched the highlight film of the 1972 game, and nobody other than players on the A's are wearing white shoes, so I think its fair to say the 1973 All Star game is the first time players starting wearing white shoes.
Hank Aaron comes up after Cedeno and singles to score Joe Morgan, putting the NL up 2-1.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Buddy Bell comes up to the plate, and it looks like he forgot to pack his batting helmet as he is wearing a Tigers batting helmet:
In the 4th, Johnny Bench homers off Bill Singer to make it 3-1:
In the 5th, Joe Morgan doubles off Bill Singer and Bobby Bonds then homers to make it 5-1:
Bonds is also wearing white shoes.
In the top of the 6th, Nolan Ryan walks Ron Santo, and then faces Willie Stargell, who is also wearing white shoes:
Stargell strikes out, which brings up Willie Davis, who like Bell forgot his batting helmet. Willie comes to the plate wearing a Braves batting helmet
and homers off Nolan Ryan to make it 7-1.
In the 8th, Willie Mays made his final All Star Game appearance (his 24th, which just happens to match his number):
In the end, it was yet another NL victory during their incredible run of dominance over the AL during the '60s & 70's
as the National League won the game 7 - 1
and Bobby Bonds was named the MVP:
In addition to the players I've already mentioned, Chris Speier also wore white shoes (shown here with Cesar Cedeno)
One thing I remember most about watching the All Star Games when I was a kid during the '70s was checking out which players would wear the white cleats. It seemed like there would always be a few players who looked slightly different than what I had seen from looking at my baseball cards and watching the NBC Game of the Week, so its interesting to see that it appears 1973 was the year this fashion trend started.
Speaking of baseball cards, here is a look at the 1974 Topps All Star cards which featured the starters from the 1973 game:
The backs of the All Star cards feature a puzzle showing MVP Bobby Bonds
One last interesting sight from the game was the bullpen buggies for the AL and the NL:
It just wouldn't be 1970's baseball without Bullpen Buggies!
There were a total of 17 future Hall of Famer players at the 1973
game: Joe Morgan, Hank Aaron, Billy Williams, Johnny Bench, Ron Santo,
Willie Stargel, Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, Don Sutton, Rod Carew, Reggie
Jackson, Carlton Fisk, Brooks Robinson, Catfish Hunter, Bert Blyleven,
Nolan Ryan and Rollie Fingers. In addition, three Hall of Fame managers were at the game: Dick
Williams, Whitey Herzog and Sparky Anderson.
Its hard to believe that a game that was celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the All Star Game is now itself celebrating its 39th Anniversary as the game finally returns to Kansas City after almost 4 decades.