In 1997, Mariano Rivera entered the All-Star break with an American League-leading 27 saves and a 1.96 ERA that was the second lowest claimed by any of the Major League pitchers with at least 20 saves. And so, with a fairly impressive catalog of work in his first season closing out games on a regular basis, the right-hander -- at the age of 27 years and 221 days -- took the mound in the ninth inning of the 68th All-Star Game.
Making the first of what would turn out to be nine All-Star appearances, Rivera fanned Charles Johnson, got Mark Grace to ground out to first, and then, with his league maintaining a two-run lead, induced Moises Alou to line out to second. With the AL's first All-Star victory since 1993, Rivera became the first AL pitcher since Dennis Eckersley (at the time the only pitcher in Midsummer Classic history with three career saves) to record a save.
Tuesday, in the 84th All-Star Game, the AL defeated the National League, 3-0. The shutout secured the AL's 39th victory against 43 losses and two ties.
Rivera pitched the eighth inning, retiring the side in order (Jean Segura groundout, Allen Craig lineout, Carlos Gomez groundout). In nine career All-Star innings over nine appearances, Rivera has allowed five hits and one (unearned) run, with five strikeouts and no walks. He's also recorded an All-Star record four saves.
For his efforts Tuesday, Rivera became the seventh pitcher to receive the game's MVP Award since 1962, when Maury Wills became the first All-Star MVP Award winner. The other pitchers to win: Juan Marichal ('65), Jon Matlack ('75, co-winner with Bill Madlock), Don Sutton ('77), LaMarr Hoyt ('85), Roger Clemens ('86) and Pedro Martinez ('99).
At 43 years and 229 days old, Mariano Rivera became the second-oldest hurler to pitch in an All-Star Game. In 1953, right-hander Satchel Paige, at the age of 47 years and seven days, pitched one inning for the AL and allowed three hits, two runs and a walk.
Get to know Harvey
Mets right-hander Matt Harvey made the start for the NL and allowed one hit and no runs in his two innings of work. Harvey was the 11th pitcher to start an All-Star Game in his home ballpark. The full list:
• 1934: Carl Hubbell (Giants) at the Polo Grounds (3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 6 K, 2 BB)
• 1938: Johnny Vander Meer (Reds) at Crosley Field (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB)
• 1939: Red Ruffing (Yankees) at Yankee Stadium (3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 K, 1 BB)
• 1952: Curt Simmons (Phillies) at Shibe Park (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K, 1 BB)
• 1959, G2: Don Drysdale (Dodgers) at L.A. Coliseum (3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 5 K, 3 BB)
• 1960, G2: Whitey Ford (Yankees) at Yankee Stadium (3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 K, 0 BB)
• 1982: Steve Rogers (Expos) at Olympic Stadium (3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 K, 0 BB)
• 1999: Martinez (Red Sox) at Fenway Park (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 5 K, 0 BB)
• 2003: Esteban Loaiza (White Sox) at U.S. Cellular Field (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB)
• 2004: Clemens (Astros) at Minute Maid Park (1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 K, 0 BB)
• 2013: Harvey (Mets) @ Citi Field (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K, 0 BB)
Harvey joined Tom Seaver (1970) and Dwight Gooden ('86, '88) as Mets pitchers to start an All-Star Game. Max Scherzer became the 11th Tigers pitcher to start a Midsummer Classic. The others: Hal Newhouser ('47), Jim Bunning ('57, '61, '62), Denny McLain ('66), Mark Fidrych ('76), Jack Morris ('81, '85), Kenny Rogers (2006) and Justin Verlander ('12).
At 24 years and 111 days old, Harvey became the youngest pitcher to start an All-Star Game since Gooden (23 years and 239 days old) got the start in 1988. Overall, Harvey is the 19th youngest All-Star starting pitcher, fitting in between Clemens (23 years and 345 days old in '86) and Steve Carlton (24 years and 213 days old in '69).
Here and there
• The AL's shutout -- this one on three hits -- marked the third time the Junior Circuit blanked the Senior Circuit, with the other two coming in 1946 (a three-hitter) and '90 (a two-hitter).
• It was the second straight year with a shutout in the Midsummer Classic, after the NL held the AL to six hits and no runs last year. This was the first time in the history of the All-Star Game that shutouts had been issued in back-to-back contests.
• The eight K's collected by AL pitchers were the third most in any of the nine shutouts thrown in the Midsummer Classic. In 1946, Bob Feller (three K's), Newhouser (four) and Jack Kramer (three) combined for 10 strikeouts in the AL's three-hit shutout; while in '68, the NL had six pitchers combine for 11 K's, with Seaver leading the way with five.
• The three runs scored by the AL were the fourth fewest by any of the winning teams in a shutout victory. In 1968, the NL won, 1-0, and there have been a pair of 2-0 games: an NL victory in '87 and an AL win in '90.
• White Sox left-hander Chris Sale worked two hitless innings, fanning two and collecting the win. He was the seventh White Sox pitcher to record an All-Star victory, and the first since Mark Buehrle in 2005. The five before Buehrle: Eddie Smith (1941), Early Wynn ('58), Ray Herbert ('62), Jack McDowell ('93) and James Baldwin (2000). Those seven wins from White Sox pitchers represent the second most for any franchise, with Giants representatives having recorded eight wins.
• With Scherzer getting the starting nod a year after Verlander was handed the ball to start the game, the Tigers are the first team to have two pitchers start in consecutive years since the D-backs had Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling make starts in 2001 and '02. The most recent AL team before the Tigers to make this claim was the 1989 and '90 Athletics, with Dave Stewart and Bob Welch.
• The Angels' Mike Trout opened the top of the first with a double, making him the eighth leadoff hitter to open the first inning with a two-base hit. The others: Richie Ashburn (top of first in 1951), Johnny Temple (bottom of first in '59), Jim Fregosi (top of first in '68), Lou Whitaker (top of first in '84), Gregg Jefferies (bottom of first in '94), Lance Johnson (bottom of first in '96) and Ichiro Suzuki (top of first in 2004).
• The AL had nine hits, with five going for extra bases (four doubles and a triple). This game marked only the third in All-Star history in which a team collected at least five extra-base hits with no home runs. In 1934, the AL had five doubles and two triples; while in 1949, the AL five doubles.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions.