From the larger-than-life presence of The Great Bambino through the otherworldly talents of the Millville Meteor, the longball has been a staple of All-Star Game lore. And it has endured from the very first midsummer meeting to these days of Home Run Derby dominance.Babe Ruth hit the first home run
From the larger-than-life presence of The Great Bambino through the otherworldly talents of the Millville Meteor, the longball has been a staple of All-Star Game lore. And it has endured from the very first midsummer meeting to these days of Home Run Derby dominance.
Babe Ruth hit the first home run in All-Star history, and of course he did, for the baseball gods wouldn't have it any other way. And with so many great players over the years having sent balls over the fence in the All-Star Game, the modern player needs to announce himself in a big way to join their company -- something Michael Trout did with his 2015 leadoff shot.
A big fly has been the biggest play in many an All-Star Game. Homers accounted for all three runs in the 1967 game. Another three, of the walk-off variety, have been peppered over the years, the last occurring when Johnny Callison won it for the National League in 1964. And those are just a few. What follows is a list, dating back to the inaugural All-Star Game in 1933, of the best and biggest All-Star Game home runs.
Ted Williams, 1941
Making his second All-Star appearance at just 22, The Kid was in the midst of a season in which he hit .406 -- the last player ever to do so -- so it was only fitting that he'd make noise at the All-Star Game, too. Facing Cubs right-hander Claude Passeau with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the AL down one run, Williams unleashed a three-run blast to win the game. He would hit four All-Star homers in his career, including a memorable one off an eephus pitch from Rip Sewell in the 1946 game in Boston, but none compared to that game-winner at Briggs Stadium.
Stan Musial, 1955
No Major Leaguer has hit more home runs in All-Star competition than Stan the Man, who has six to his name. But none was as satisfying as his 12th-inning walk-off shot to send the NL home victorious at Milwaukee County Stadium. Legend has it that Musial stepped to the plate, looked down at AL catcher Yogi Berra, and said, "Yogi, let's end this thing." And then he did.
Reggie Jackson, 1971
This was long before The Natural brought such a scene to the big screen, and sparks may not have bathed the field in a shower of pyrotechnics. But Jackson's colossal All-Star blast off a light-tower transformer on the roof of Tiger Stadium had baseball fans oohing and aahing like they'd just seen a fireworks show. In the third inning, the 25-year-old A's phenom crushed a shot off the Pirates' Dock Ellis that might have sailed out of the ballpark -- ESPN Home Run Tracker estimates it at 539 feet -- if not for that transformer.
"I knew it was out of the ballpark," Reggie said with a smile afterward. "I didn't think there was any question."
Ken Griffey Jr., 1992
This was actually the 22-year-old's third All-Star Game, but it would serve as a coming-out party of sorts for the player known as both Junior and The Natural, since he wound up winning MVP honors. Griffey knocked a first-inning RBI single off Tom Glavine in a four-run AL outburst, but he really put his stamp on the game with the first and only homer of his 13 All-Star appearances, this off another of Atlanta's future Hall-of-Fame pitchers: Greg Maddux.
Cal Ripken Jr., 2001
An All-Star tribute to baseball's Iron Man already had been surreal for Ripken; as the icon went out to third base for the top of the first inning, he found Alexander Rodriguez standing in his spot, prompting Ripken to assume his natural shortstop position one last time. Then, in the bottom of the third, things got really dramatic. Ripken stepped to the plate, and on the first pitch from Chan Ho Park sent a home run sailing into the left-field stands at Safeco Field. It was a perfect exclamation point on an All-Star career that saw Ripken make 19 midsummer appearances, but none more poignant than this.
Bo Jackson, 1989
During the 1989 All-Star Game in Anaheim, sports fans watching on televisions across America were about to be introduced to the "Bo Knows" advertising campaign. And to start the game, viewers found out that Bo knows a thing or two about leadoff homers. It wasn't just any leadoff shot, either; Jackson pounded a pitch from Rick Reuschel on a line to the tarp-covered batter's eye in center field.
It was truly a jolt to remember -- Vin Scully's "Bo Jackson says hello!" call ranks among his most iconic -- and helped cement Jackson's place as one of the great athletes of his time.
Mike Trout, 2015
The All-Star Game has a unique way of showcasing talent, and the first four appearances of Trout's career became a perfect portrait of one of the game's most gifted players. In his fourth All-Star Game, the 2015 affair in Cincinnati, Trout led off with a home run off Zack Greinke, a feat that in and of itself was notable. But it also happened to cap off a natural cycle that spanned the first of Trout's All-Star Game at-bats over four straight seasons: a single in 2012, double in 2013, triple in 2014 and solo smash in 2015.
The First of Their Kind
Babe Ruth, 1933
The man who would be the Home Run King for more than a half-century was 38 at the time of the first All-Star Game, and he would play in only one more after that. But he made his mark on the Midsummer Classic much like he did with everything else, stepping up in the third inning and collecting the first homer in All-Star history. He hit it to right field at Comiskey Park off the Cardinals' Bill Hallahan, and trotted right into the All-Star history books.
Fred Lynn, 1983
The first grand slam in All-Star history came during an inning for the ages, when Lynn took an Atlee Hammaker pitch deep at Comiskey Park. Hammaker had relieved NL starter Mario Soto in the third, and the AL already held a 5-1 lead. When the NL opted to intentionally walk Robin Yount to load the bases for Lynn, he made them pay with the historic granny. The seven earned runs tagged to Hammaker remain All-Star records for both an inning and a game, while Lynn's grand slam remains the only one in Midsummer Classic history. It was one of four home runs Lynn hit in a mere 22 All-Star plate appearances, but none challenged the clout of this one.
Ichiro Suzuki, 2007
The arcade in right field at AT&T Park -- that brick wall with arches on it separating the field from McCovey Cove -- has been best known through recent years as the wall over which Barry Bonds' home runs sailed so many times. But in the 2007 All-Star Game, it was Ichiro who made use of the wall, not to mention All-Star history. Typically a slap-happy singles hitter, Ichiro blasted a pitch to right, and the ball connected with one of those arches, caroming away from outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. By the time Junior chased it down and got the ball back to the infield, Ichiro was crossing home plate with the first and only inside-the-park homer in All-Star Game history.
This article appears in the 2017 MLB Official All-Star Game Program. Read more features on allstargame.com.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB.