Today in All-Star Game History: Pedro Martinez strikes out everybody
Guess what? It's nearly time for the MLB All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile! In preparation, we're taking a look back into All-Star Game history and showcasing some epic and memorable plays from Midsummer Classics of yore. Check back each day from now until July 13 for more This Day in All-Star Game History.
Pedro gonna Pedro
1999 was a record-setting offensive year for MLB. More homers were hit than ever before and the Indians became the first team in 61 years to score more than 1,000 runs. So the All-Star Game on July 13 at Fenway Park seemed like it would be a glorious, dinger-mashing show for the ages.
There was just one small, 5-foot-11 problem: Pedro Martinez.
Pedro was in the midst of an absolutely dominant year, one in which he would lead the league in wins (23), ERA (2.07), ERA+ (243), WHIP (.923), K/9 (13.2!!!!) and pretty much every other statiscal category known to man. Consequently, he started for the AL that night and became the first pitcher to strike out the first three batters of a Midsummer Classic (he ended up striking out five of the six hitters he faced). Those names included Sammy Sosa, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin:
In the 1971 game, a 25-year-old Reggie Jackson came up to the plate against Dock Ellis at Tiger Stadium and, well, he nearly hit one out of Tiger Stadium:
It's been called the longest home run in All-Star Game history with some believing it to have traveled well over 500 feet. Jackson, in vintage form, mentioned he had a strong inkling it might leave the yard once it left the bat:
50 years ago, Minnesota hosted a game which featured 16 Hall of Famers, incredible trash talk and home runs by Willie Mays:
And Harmon Killebrew:
Sandy Koufax got the win in the NL's 6-5 victory. Read more about the memorable contest right here.