Dodgers' Garvey MVP in NL's 1974 ASG win

Five first-time All-Star pitchers hold AL to four hits

March 11th, 2016
Steve Garvey scores the National League's first run during the second inning of the 1974 All-Star Game. (AP)Anonymous/AP

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

American League president Lee MacPhail made an unusual demand of manager Dick Williams before the 45th All-Star Game on July 23, 1974, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.

With the National League having won two straight All-Star Games and 10 of the last 11, MacPhail ordered Williams to use only his best players throughout the entire game.

It didn't work.

The NL took a 7-2 victory as five first-time All-Star pitchers held the AL's best to only four hits. The victory stretched the NL's advantage in the series to 26-18-1.

Even the Most Valuable Player of the 1974 All-Star Game stunned the AL.

Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey hadn't even been on the official ballot. He made the starting lineup as a write-in after hitting .313 with 15 homers and 65 RBIs in the first half of the season. In his first All-Star Game appearance, Garvey went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a RBI and made several spectacular plays in the field.

The NL took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second, when Garvey singled with two out against AL starter Gaylord Perry of the Cleveland Indians. Garvey scored on a double by Dodgers teammate Ron Cey.

But the AL scored twice in the top of the third against NL starter Andy Messersmith of the Dodgers, who allowed two runs on two hits and three walks with four strikeouts over three innings. Yankees catcher Thurman Munson led off the inning with a double inside the left-field foul line and advanced to third on a ground out. After Rod Carew drew a one-out walk, the Minnesota second baseman stole second as Messersmith was striking out A's shortstop Bert Campaneris. But the throw from Reds catcher Johnny Bench sailed into center, allowing Munson to score and Carew to advance to third. Carew then scored on a single to left by first baseman Dick Allen of the Chicago White Sox.

The NL regained the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fourth against Luis Tiant of the Boston Red Sox.

Bench and Dodgers outfielder Jim Wynn opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Garvey doubled home Bench to tie the game. Wynn scored the go-ahead run on a ground out by Cey.

The NL scored an unearned run off Tiant in the fifth to make it 4-2. Pinch-hitter Lou Brock of the Cardinals opened the inning with a single. Brock then stole second, raced to third when Munson threw the ball into center for an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cincinnati second baseman Joe Morgan.

St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Reggie Smith extended the lead to 5-2 by leading off the bottom of the seventh with a solo homer against Jim "Catfish" Hunter of the Oakland A's.

The NL scored its final two runs against the A's Rollie Fingers. Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt drew a one-out walk and scored on a triple by Chicago Cubs shortstop Don Kessinger, who scored the game's final run on a wild pitch.

Bench and Garvey were the only players in the game with two hits.

Ken Brett of the Pirates followed Messersmith's three innings and allowed one hit over two innings. Jon Matlack of the Mets allowed a hit in a scoreless sixth. Lynn McGlothen of the Cardinals struck out one in a scoreless seventh. Mike Marshall of the Dodgers completed the game with two scoreless innings, allowing one walk with two strikeouts.

NL manager Yogi Berra gambled on five pitchers with no previous All-Star Game experience and won.

John Grubb was the Padres' lone representative in the 1974 All-Star Game and went 0-for-1 while playing left field over the final three innings.