By Jeremy Kahn
AP photo: San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto at press conference at the All-Star game in San Diego
SAN FRANCISCO–It is hard to believe that when the All-Star Game begins tonight with San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto on the mound, it will be the 12th Major League All-Star Game played in the Golden State since the Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers moved to California in 1958.
From 1959-1962, Major League Baseball hosted two All-Star Games and it was in 1959 that the All-Star Game made its debut on the West Coast with the cavernous Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the then home of the Dodgers hosting the second game.
Johnny Antonelli, Orlando Cepeda, Sam Jones and Willie Mays represented the Giants in the mid-summer classic at the Coliseum; however Antonelli and Cepeda did not play in the game. Mays went 0-for-4 at the plate, while Jones pitched two innings, allowing one run on one hit, while walking two and striking out three in a 5-3 American League victory.
The City of San Francisco did not have to wait long for the All-Star Game to visit the newly christened Candlestick Park, as the first of the 1961 All-Star Game series paid a visit to “The City by the Bay,” and the second-year stadium on the Shores of San Francisco Bay.
Cepeda, Mays, Mike McCormick and Stu Miller represented the Giants, as the National League defeated the American League by the final score of 5-4 on a very windy day at Candlestick Park.
With the National League leading the American League by the score of 3-1 in the top of the ninth inning, the American League scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 4-3 lead; however the National League did not give up. Hank Aaron scored the tying run on a Mays’ double and then Mays scored the winning run, when Roberto Clemente singled him in to give the National League the victory. Just prior to the Clemente base hit that won the game, Hoyt Wilhelm hit Frank Robinson.
This game was also memorable, as this was the All-Star Game that saw Miller get called for a balk after he was blown off the mound while getting ready to throw a pitch in the top of the ninth. Miller was the winning pitcher in the game, while McCormick pitched the sixth inning, and Cepeda took the collar, as he went 0-for-3.
It would be another six years before the All-Star Game returned to the State of California, as it would return to Southern California and make its first of three appearances at Anaheim Stadium, the home of the California Angels.
Tom Haller, Juan Marichal and Mays would be the Giants three representatives in the game, with Marichal receiving the honor of being named the starting pitcher for the National League.
Coming off the bench as a pinch hitter, and playing in left field, Mays went 0-for-4, while Haller went 0-for-1 in his lone plate appearance. Marichal pitched three innings, allowing one hit, walking one and striking out three and the National League defeated the American League 2-1 in 15 innings on Tony Perez solo home run.
With the San Diego Padres joining the National League as an expansion team in 1969, it would be nine years before the All-Star Game headed to San Diego.
Vida Blue was named the starting pitcher, as Blue became the first pitcher ever to start an All-Star Game for both leagues. He also started the 1971 classic at Tiger Stadium while a member of the Oakland A’s.
Blue was joined on the All-Star team by Jack Clark.
In his only at-bat of the All-Star Game, Clark went 0-for-1, while Blue pitched three innings, allowing three runs on five hits, walking one and striking out two and the National League defeated the American League 7-3.
Just two years later, the All-Star Game headed 120 miles north up Interstate 5, as the Dodgers would host their only All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.
Blue was named to the team, but was unable to play due an injury and Ed Whitson was also named to the team; however he did not pitch in the 4-2 win for the National League.
Bob Brenly and Chili Davis were the lone representatives in 1984, as the Giants hosted the All-Star Game at Candlestick Park four years after it was at Dodger Stadium.
Both Brenly and Davis went 0-for-1 as pinch hitters in the 4-1 victory for the National League in what proved to be the final All-Star Game at Candlestick Park.
The All-Star Game would finally venture to the East Bay in 1987, as the Oakland A’s would host their only All-Star Game to date at the Oakland Coliseum.
Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos drove in the only runs of the game with a double in the top of the 13th inning, as the National League defeated the American League 2-0.
Jeffrey Leonard was the lone Giants representative who made the 10-mile trip from San Francisco to Oakland, and went 0-for-2 in his lone plate appearance.
The Pacific Sock Exchange duo of Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell was named All-Star starters, while Rick Reuschel was named the starting pitcher in the 1989 classic at Anaheim Stadium.
Reuschel is best known for allowing a leadoff home run to Bo Jackson, while Clark went 0-for-2 and Mitchell went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in a 5-3 American League victory.
Three years after the game in Anaheim, the 1992 game headed down Interstate 5 back to San Diego, as Clark was the lone Giants representative.
Clark went 1-for-2 with a run and three runs batted in. The lone hit by Clark was a three-run home run off of Rick Aguilera, but it was not enough and the American League won by the final of 13-6.
The All-Star Game would not return to the State of California for another 15 years, as AT&T Park hosted its first game in 2007.
Entering his final year of active play, Barry Bonds was the lone Giants representative on the field, but Bruce Bochy in his first year as manager of the Giants was named as a coach by NL Manager Tony LaRussa of the St. Louis Cardinals.
The American League won the game by the final of 5-4, as Ichiro Suzuki hit the first Inside-The-Park Home Run in All-Star Game history.
Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson were the Giants representatives in the last All-Star Game held in the State of California at Anaheim Stadium in 2010.
Despite the fact that Lincecum did not pitch in the game, this was his third consecutive appearance in the midsummer classic.
On the other hand, Wilson pitched the eighth inning and the National League held on for the 3-1 victory.