Big thumbs up to the new MLB Network, which during this All Star Break, has been showing old All Star Games in their entirety. They showed the 1971 game last night and the 1986 game today. However, the ones from the late 70's were the best ones, so I was ecstatic to find that one of the games they are showing is the 1976 All Star Game. Some observations of that game:
Mark Belanger was an AL All Star at SS? Steve Swisher an NL All Star at C?
John Montefusco made it for the Giants. "The Count" was a very good pitcher, who unfortunately only pitched for terrible teams (Giants, Padres, Atlanta, and Yankees) during his entire career.
Don Money represented the Brewers who were then in the AL. He used to kill the Red Sox.
What a PATHETIC starting lineup for the American League.
P - Mark Fidrych
C - Thurman Munson
1B - Rod Carew
2B - Bobby Grich
SS - Toby Harrah
3B - George Brett
LF - Ron LeFlore
CF - Fred Lynn
RF - Rusty Staub
No wonder the AL didn't win for years. Fred Lynn's the only one who had any power in that lineup. Rusty Staub, Ron LeFlore, Bobby Grich, and Toby Harrah? Those players were decent, but didn't strike me as guys who should start an All Star game.
George Brett and the awesome Rod Carew are the two best players in this starting lineup. Carew is one of my favorite all time players.
The AL first base coach is Frank Robinson - he was better than anyone who played in that game.
The only starters in both lineups who are deceased are the members of the AL battery - Fidrych and Munson. Catfish Hunter is also deceased, but he didn't start.
In 1976, who better to lead off for the NL than Pete Rose?
The NL starting lineup is full of Cincinnati Reds:
P - Randy Jones
C - Johnny Bench
1B - Steve Garvey
2B - Joe Morgan
SS - Davey Concepcion
3B - Pete Rose
LF - Greg Luzinski
CF - George Foster
RF - Dave Kingman
Whoever voted for Dave Kingman to start in an All Star game, should be as ashamed of themselves as those who voted for John Kerry for President.
Johnny Bench only made 14 All Star games.
Best moment: Late in the game, Mickey Rivers running from first to second and going out of the basepaths on a 4-6-3 double play where he took out NL SS Bill Russell and spiked him in the thigh. The All Star Game really meant something back then. I have newfound respect for Mickey Rivers for playing that hard in an "exhibition game".
Cesar Cedeno hit a bomb late in the game off Frank Tanana.
Funniest line was when Rick Rhoden was pitching and he hit 91 on the radar gun, either Bob Uecker or Warner Wolf proclaimed any fastball better than 85-86 MPH was very good. Angels lefty Frank Tanana was throwing 95. Tanana blew out his arm soon after, and by the time the Red Sox got him, he was an 82 mph throwing junkballer.
Surprisingly, Reginald Martinez Jackson did not make the All Star team in 1976, as a member of the Orioles.