Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 9, 1940: The All Star Game Comes To St. Louis

     On July 9, 1940, the All Star game was held in St. Louis for the first time, and with the help of a three run first inning home run from Boston Bees outfielder Max West the National League prevailed by the score of 4-0.

     The big blow came off of Yankees hurler Red Ruffing. From there the National League skipper, Bill McKechnie, who once called St. Louis home, trotted out pitcher after pitcher to shut down the American league lineup. McKechnie was the manager of the Reds at the time, and sent his own hurler Paul Derringer out to start the game. After two innings, Derringer's teammate Bucky Walters took the ball in the next two, then came Whit Wyatt of the Brooklyn Dodgers who pitched two innings of his own. Larry French of the Cubs followed Wyatt with two scoreless frames, then the legendary Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants picked up the save.

     The hero of the day, Max West, was put in the lineup on a hunch by Bill McKechnie. He chose West over the seasoned veteran Mel Ott, who would score the final National League run of the ballgame in the eighth after picking up a lead off walk. It was West's lone trip to the All Star game. He was just 23 years of age at the time. He spent a total of seven years on a big league diamond. That big fly at the 1940 All Star game, was perhaps his true moment in the sun, which will make his name one to be remembered as long as baseball tales are told. 32,373 souls witnessed that moment in the ole ballpark that sat at Grand and Dodier.

Check out the box score here:

Couple of side notes: There were three representatives from the clubs that called St. Louis home. Terry Moore and Johnny Mize both started for the National League, and browns first baseman George McQuinn was on the roster for the American Leaguer, however, he did not play. Simply being among the best is an honor within itself. Sportsman's Park hosted three All Star games. After the 1940 midsummer classic, the Browns played the host in 1948, then in 1957 it returned to the park for the final time. The game would return to St. Louis at the House that Gussie Built in 1966, then as many of you remember it came back to town in 2009. Last but not least, the Boston Bees were known as the Braves before 1936, then following that 1940 season they took the Braves moniker back.

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