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On This Date in Sports July 10, 1990: Rain and Drought of Hits at Wrigley

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A seventh-inning rain delay cannot dampen the spirits in the All-Star Game at Wrigley Field. The All-Star Game was awarded after the classic ballpark added lights in 1988. The American League wins the mid-summer classic for the third straight year 2-0. The only runs of the game come following the delay when Julio Franco of the Texas Rangers hits a two-run double. Franco would go on to earn MVP honors. 

For the first time since 1962, the Chicago Cubs hosted the All-Star Game. Major League Baseball promised the chance to hold the mid-summer on the North Side of Chicago if Wrigley Field added lights. The Cubs finally installed lights to Wrigley Field in 1988. As the All-Star Game reached the 90s, the tide had begun to turn. From 1960-1985, the American League had won the All-Star Game just three times. Coming into the game at Wrigley Field, they had a two-game winning streak for the first time in 31 years. 

Oakland Athletics manager Tony LaRussa chose his ace Bob Welch to start for the American League. At the same time, Jack Armstrong of the Cincinnati Reds was a surprise choice to start for the National League by manager Roger Craig from the San Francisco Giants. The 1990 All-Star Game was the first for Ken Griffey Jr. of the Seattle Mariners and Barry Bonds of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Each team had a player with the same name, with slightly different spellings, as catcher Greg Olson was the lone representative of the Atlanta Braves, while reliever Gregg Olson of the Baltimore Orioles was on the AL team. It was the only All-Star selection for either Olson.

Each starting pitcher gave up one hit in the first inning, as Wade Boggs of the Boston Red Sox got the game’s first hit with one out, while Will Clark of the San Francisco Giants got the first hit for the National League. The National League would not get another hit until the ninth inning. Dave Stieb of the Toronto Blue Jays took over for Welch in the third allowing one walk in two innings before Brett Saberhagen of the Kansas City Royals had two perfect innings. The American League would not get their second hit until the fifth inning. Ramon Martinez of the Los Angeles Dodgers allowed two walks in the third after taking over for Armstrong. Dennis Martinez of the Montreal Expos had a perfect fourth. In the fifth inning, Sandy Alomar Jr. of the Cleveland Indians had a leadoff single against Frank Viola of the New York Mets. Viola would erase that runner one batter later as Steve Sax of the New York Yankees hit into a double play. 

In the sixth inning, the American League had the first threat as Wade Boggs singled off Dave Smith of the Houston Astros. With two walks, the AL was able to load the bases with two outs as Jeff Brantley of the Giants came in and got Cecil Fielder to fly out to center to end the inning. Brantley remained on the mound in the seventh giving up singles to Sandy Alomar Jr. and Lance Parrish of the California Angels. A brief shower would bring the All-Star Game to a halt. CBS, in their first season covering baseball, was caught unprepared and aired an episode of “Rescue 911” during the delay. 

After the 68-minute rain delay, Rob Dibble of the Reds came on to pitch with two runners on base. The first batter he faced was Julio Franco, who slashed a double down the right-field line, scoring both runners. It was the game’s only extra-base hit. Randy Myers, the second member of Cincinnati’s Nasty Boys, pitched the eighth, loaded the bases with one hit and two walks but did not allow another run, as John Franco of the New York Mets pitched a perfect ninth.

Down 2-0, the National League needed to rally against Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics, having been held hitless since the first inning. Lenny Dykstra of the Philadelphia Phillies, who played the entire game in his first All-Star appearance, led off the ninth with a single. However, Eckersley set the next three batters with ease, to finish the American League’s 2-0 win. The final out was made by Tim Wallach of the Montreal Expos, who popped up to first. 

Bret Saberhagen earned the win for the American League as Bobby Thigpen of the Chicago White Sox and Chuck Finley of the Angels earned holds as the National League came up empty all night.