MIAMI -- Tonight's 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard will mark the 50th anniversary of the moment when a young Cincinnati third baseman from Cuba named Tony Perez decided a Midsummer Classic in the 15th inning in Anaheim, giving the National League a victory and earning a Most Valuable Player
MIAMI -- Tonight's 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard will mark the 50th anniversary of the moment when a young Cincinnati third baseman from Cuba named Tony Perez decided a Midsummer Classic in the 15th inning in Anaheim, giving the National League a victory and earning a Most Valuable Player award.
It is an indelible memory for the 75-year-old Hall of Famer, who has been front and center here as special assistant to the general manager for the host Marlins. He's an All-Star Week ambassador who serves as a grand marshal in the pregame parade and will be among the Latin-born legends honored by Major League Baseball in a pregame ceremony.
"It's special because I didn't start the game," Perez recalled. "The game went 15 innings and I didn't get into the game until the 10th. That means from the beginning through the bottom of the ninth, I never was in that game. But we played long enough for me to get in there and be the MVP. I hit the home run to win."
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That is a reminder just how special the mantle of Most Valuable Player remains over time to its recipients, and now it is about time for you to once again play an important role in the process. Tune into FOX to watch the All-Star Game live starting at 7:30 p.m. ET, and then in the sixth inning, visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
By the sixth inning, some strong candidates will have emerged. The balloting will continue until the MVP is announced immediately following the end of the game. The online fan vote again will count for 20 percent, with the other 80 percent coming onsite from the Baseball Writers' Association of America and the announcers from the All-Star Game's three broadcast rights holders: FOX Sports, ESPN Radio and MLB International.
Who will raise up the glass bat and earn a new ride from Chevrolet? We know this much: It will be someone new. Eric Hosmer of the Royals won last year, but he did not make it onto the American League roster this time. Michael Trout of the Angels won the previous two years, but he will be unable to bid for No. 3 due to rehab from his thumb injury. The previous year was outgoing closer Mariano Rivera, and no All-Star MVPs before that are in this game.
Here are some things to know about the MVP vote:
A starting pitcher never has won since fans joined in the voting in 2003. The last one to be named MVP was Pedro Martinez in 1999, when he started with a strikeout spree while pitching for the AL in front of his home Red Sox fans. Can a starting pitcher win it?
Current clubs that never have had an All-Star MVP include the Astros, Blue Jays, Cardinals, D-backs, Rockies, Tigers and White Sox. There are six starting players who could change that, including three Astros (Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer), two Rockies (Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon), and Justin Smoak of Toronto.
Baltimore has had the most All-Star MVPs with six: Brooks Robinson (1966), Frank Robinson (1971), Cal Ripken Jr. (1991 and 2001), Roberto Alomar (1998) and Miguel Tejada (2005). Could reserve second baseman Jonathan Schoop be the latest? The Angels, Dodgers, Giants and Reds tie for second with five each, followed by the Red Sox with four.
The last time a player was MVP in his home park was Martinez, who struck out five of the first six National League batters while representing Boston in 1999 at Fenway Park. Could starting outfielder Marcell Ozuna or reserve Giancarlo Stanton join him?
The award was originally called the Arch Ward Memorial Award in honor of the man who conceived of the All-Star Game in 1933. The award's name was changed to the Commissioner's Trophy in 1970, and that name began being used in 1985 instead for the presentation of the World Series hardware. In 2002, it was renamed as the Arch Ward Trophy for Ted Williams Most Valuable Player, in honor of former the Red Sox great, who had died earlier that year. So Ward's name is still involved with the honor.
All-Star MVPs began to be chosen in 1962, the fourth and final year of two All-Star Games per season. Both were Los Angeles players that year -- Maury Wills for the Dodgers and Leon Wagner for the new Angels franchise. Fans had no say in that MVP matter, but you do now.
Only one pitcher has won the award since the fan vote was factored in, and there was an extra sentimental factor in his case because it was Yankees closer Rivera's All-Star swan song. Here's the list:
2003: Garret Anderson, Angels
2004: Alfonso Soriano, Rangers
2005: Miguel Tejada, Orioles
2006: Michael Young, Rangers
2007:Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
2008: J.D. Drew, Red Sox
2009:Carl Crawford, Rays
2010:Brian McCann, Braves
2011:Prince Fielder, Tigers
2012:Melky Cabrera, Giants
2013: Mariano Rivera, Yankees
2014 and '15: Mike Trout, Angels
2016: Eric Hosmer, Royals
Tonight at 7:30 ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.