McCovey's 2 HRs led to ASG win in 1969

Catcher Cannizzaro first Padres player selected for NL team

February 29th, 2016
Willie McCovey is congratulated by Hank Aaron (44) and Ron Santo (who was on deck) at home plate in the third inning. (AP)Anonymous/AP

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Major League Padres came into existence as an expansion team in 1969, with catcher Chris Cannizzaro earning the honor of being the first Padres player on the National League All-Star team.

Unfortunately, Cannizzaro did not play in the 40th All-Star Game on July 23 game at R.F.K. Stadium in Washington, D.C., as the NL triumphed, 9-3, for a seventh straight victory.

Behind two homers by the game's Most Valuable Player Willie McCovey and a two-run homer by Reds catcher Johnny Bench, the NL powered its way to an early 8-1 lead against American League pitchers Mel Stottlemyre of the Yankees and Blue Moon Odom of the Oakland A's.

The NL took a 1-0 lead on an unearned run in the first. Center fielder Matty Alou of the Pittsburgh Pirates opened the game with a single against Stottlemyre, advanced to third on a ground out and a wild pitch and scored when left fielder Frank Howard of the hometown Senators dropped Hank Aaron's short fly for an error.

Mets left fielder Cleon Jones opened the second with a single and scored ahead of Bench's home run to left off Stottlemyre.

The AL got on the board in the bottom of the second on Howard's homer to center off nl starter Steve Carlton of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The NL then broke the game open with five runs in the top of the third against Odom. Braves right fielder Aaron opened the inning with a single and scored on McCovey's first homer, a drive to right-center field.

After Cubs third baseman Ron Santo grounded out, Jones reached on a fielding error by Boston shortstop Rico Petrocelli. Bench singled to put runners at first and third, and Atlanta second baseman Felix Milan drove both home with a double to left. Milan scored on a double by starting pitcher Carlton.

Tigers catcher Bill Freehan led off the bottom of the third with a homer off Carlton. McCovey countered in the top of the fourth with his second homer off Denny McLain of the Tigers. The San Francisco Giants first baseman became the fourth player in All-Star Game history to hit two homers in a game, joining Arky Vaughan (1941), Ted Williams (1946) and Al Rosen (1954).

The AL scored the game's final run in the bottom of the fourth on Freehan's two-out RBI single off Bob Gibson of the Cardinals.

After Bill Singer of the Dodgers followed Gibson and pitched two perfect innings for the National League, Jerry Koosman of the Mets allowed one hit in 1 2/3 innings before Larry Dierker of the Houston Astros got the final out in the eighth. Phil Niekro of the Atlanta Braves struck out two in a perfect ninth.

With the American League down by six runs, Dave McNally pitched two scoreless innings. Sam McDowell took over and struck out four in two perfect innings before Ray Culp of the Red Sox struck out two in a perfect ninth.

McCovey, Alou, Jones and Bench each had two of the NL's 11 hits. McCovey had three RBIs off his two homers, while Bench and Milan each drove in two runs. Freehan was 2-for-2 with a homer and two RBIs for the AL.