The National League's Pete Rose (14) collides with American League catcher Ray Fosse to score the winning run in the 1970 All-Star Game on July 14, 1970, at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.

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Silverman: Still Can’t Top Rose’s 12th-Inning Crash For Top All-Star Finish

Steve Silverman
July 16, 2018 - 11:58 am
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If you believe the critics and the know-it-alls, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is a meaningless exhibition game that is little more than a waste of time.

Stay away from those nonbelievers. It’s easy to pose like you are the coolest guy in the room and act like you are above it all. You may fool some people – or even a lot of them – but you may end up missing one of the best shows of the summer.

That’s what the All-Star Game has been on so many occasions. If you think about it, it’s really not a surprise. When the best players in the world get together and represent the American and National leagues, the chemistry is there to put on a tremendous performance.

Here’s a look at the most exciting All-Star Game finishes in the 88-game series. (The two leagues are tied at 43-43-2 heading into Tuesday night’s Mid-Summer Classic at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.)

1. 1970: National League 5, American League 4 (12 innings)

The American League had not won an All-Star Game since 1962, and the National League seemed prepared to win once again in this game at brand-spanking-new Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. This game was in Pete Rose’s house, and the last thing Charley Hustle was about to accept was a loss to the AL in his house.

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The game was scoreless into the sixth inning before the AL managed to take the lead on an RBI single by Carl Yastrzemski, one of four hits the Red Sox slugger would record. The AL stretched its lead to 4-1 in the top of the eighth inning on a two-run triple by Baltimore's Brooks Robinson, and when the NL failed to respond in the bottom of the inning, it appeared to be the end of the AL losing streak.

However, the National League woke up in the bottom of the ninth. Catcher Dick Dietz of the Giants led off with a home run off of Oakland ace Catfish Hunter, and the NL tied it when the Giants' Willie McCovey greeted Yankees lefty Fritz Peterson with an RBI single and Pittsburgh's Roberto Clemente followed with a sacrifice fly off of Yankees stalwart Mel Stottlemyre.

The score remained tied 4-4 into the bottom of the 12th. And after two quick outs, Rose and the Dodgers' Billy Grabarkewitz singled off of Clyde Wright of the Angels. That brought up ex-Met Jim Hickman, who had become an All-Star with the Cubs. Hickman singled, and Rose came roaring around third in an attempt to score the winning run.

Rose determined that the throw from Kansas City’s Amos Otis (another ex-Met) would beat him, so he crashed into Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse, bowled over the catcher and scored the winning run. The play would go on to symbolize Rose’s outstanding playing career and leave the American League searching for answers.

2. 1941: American League 7, National League 5

The American League had a 4-3 series advantage after the first seven All-Star Games, but the National League was well on its way to tying the series at Briggs Stadium in Detroit in eighth game. The Senior Circuit had a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, thanks largely to Pirates shortstop Arky Vaughn, who belted two home runs and knocked in four runs.

Chicago Cubs ace Claude Passeau took the mound in the bottom of the ninth with the idea of shutting down the American League. With one out, Ken Keltner of the Indians and Joe Gordon of the Yankees had back-to-back singles. A walk then loaded the bases, bringing up Joe DiMaggio.

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The Yankee Clipper hit a hard grounder to shortstop, but he beat the relay to first. That prevented the NL from executing a game-ending double play and brought up the Red Sox's Ted Williams in an at-bat the Splendid Splinter would later refer to as the biggest in his career.

He launched Passeau’s pitch into the upper deck in right field, and a 5-4 deficit (one run had scored on DiMaggio’s ground ball) became a 7-5 AL victory.

3. 1994: National League 8, American League 7 (10 innings)

The American League had won six games in a row and seemed ready to add to that streak when Kenny Lofton of the Indians knocked in two runs in the top of the seventh inning with a base hit to give the Junior Circuit a 5-4 lead.

The National League faced the unenviable task of trying to get back in the game in the bottom of the ninth against fireballing right-hander Lee Smith of the Baltimore Orioles. The Braves' Fred McGriff faced Smith with one out and one on, and he made solid contact on a Smith pitch that was just a bit up in the zone. McGriff homered to left-center to send the game into extra innings.

After the AL failed to score in the top of the 10th, Tony Gwynn of the Padres led off with a single off Chicago’s Jason Bere, and Montreal’s Moises Alou followed with a double to the wall in left-center. Gwynn raced around from first at top seed, and he beat Cal Ripken Jr.’s relay throw to Ivan Rodriguez by an eyelash, giving the NL an extra-inning victory.

4. 1979: National League 7, American League 6

The frustrated American League was determined to gain its first victory since 1971 at Seattle’s Kingdome, and Fred Lynn of the Red Sox tried to set the tone with a three-run homer off of Steve Carlton of the Phillies in the first inning.

The National League battled back and trailed 6-5 in the top of the eighth inning when the Mets' Lee Mazzilli led off with an opposite field home run off of reliever Jim Kern of the Rangers.

The American League attempted to untie the game in the bottom of the ninth when Graig Nettles of the Yankees lined a single to right field and the Angels' Brian Downing tried to score from second base. However, Dave Parker of the Pirates unleashed a tremendous throw to Expos catcher Gary Carter to prevent the American League from scoring the go-ahead run.

A bases-loaded walk issued by Yankees ace Ron Guidry to Mazzilli in the ninth gave the NL its eighth straight win.

5. 1955: National League 6, American League 5 (12 innings)

This All-Star Game in Milwaukee saw Yankees great Mickey Mantle belt a three-run homer in the first inning as the American League jumped out to a 5-0 lead.

It held that lead until the bottom of the seventh inning, when the National League got on the board with two runs. The Senior Circuit then tied the score with three more runs in the bottom of the eighth.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the 12th, when Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals led off against the Red Sox's Frank Sullivan and hammered the ball over the fence for a game-winning home run.

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