in collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
With the All-Stars gathered in Anaheim, the sport of baseball loses a titan as George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, dies at the age of 80. A short memorial is held before the mid-summer classic as all the players gather in a moment of silence. The National League would win the All-Star Game 3-1. It is their first win since 1996 as Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann wins MVP honors with a three-run double in the seventh inning.
George Steinbrenner, the bombastic owner who changed baseball and embraced free agency, had an up and down tenure in his ownership of the Yankees. He had taken a dynasty in hibernation and made the Yankees great again with two championships in 1977 and 1978. However, both were won through turmoil as Steinbrenner feuded with manager Billy Martin. George Steinbrenner would hire and fire Martin five times as the Yankees struggled in the 1980s. In 1990, George Steinbrenner was banned for using a gambler to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield. The ban lasted nearly three years, as Steinbrenner was reinstated in 1993. The new George Steinbrenner was more patient as the Yankees dynasty rose again, without the turmoil of the past. As a new Yankee Stadium was built in 2009, George Steinbrenner was in failing health, ceding control of the team to his sons Hank and Hal a few years earlier. The Yankees won the World Series in 2009 and presented George a ring at the start of the 2010 season, in one of his last appearances. There were rumors that Steinbrenner had Alzheimer’s when he suffered a heart attack and died on the morning of July 13, 2010.
Yankees skipper Joe Girardi was the manager of the American League, while Charlie Manuel of the Philadelphia Phillies was the National League’s manager for the second straight year. David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays made the start for the American League while Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies made the start for the National League at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Before the game, both teams paid tribute to George Steinbrenner by gathering for a moment of silence.
The pitchers dominated the game early, as the game was scoreless through four innings. Jimenez and Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins pitched two innings apiece for the NL, while Price went two innings, followed by one inning from Andy Pettite of the New York Yankees and Cliff Lee of the Texas Rangers.
Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers escaped a jam in the fifth inning, stranding two runners after David Wright of the New York Mets led the inning off with a single. In the bottom of the fifth, the American League got an unearned run off Hong-Chic Kuo of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kuo caused himself trouble with a walk of Evan Longoria of the Rays. He then proceeded to throw a ground ball hit by Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins past first basemen Adrian Gonzalez of the San Diego Padres. With runners on second and third after the error, Robinson Cano of the Yankees proceeded to hit a sac-fly that scored Longoria.
The unearned run would be the only run allowed by the National League as Heath Bell of the Padres finished up the fifth, while Roy Halladay of the Phillies and Matt Capps of the Washington Nationals did not allow anything in the sixth. After Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox kept the National League off the board in the sixth, Phil Hughes of the Yankees entered the game in the seventh. After Joe Votto of the Cincinnati Reds grounded out to start the inning, Matt Holiday of the St. Louis Cardinals and Scott Rolen of the Reds proceed to collect singles chasing Hughes from the game.
Matt Thornton of the Chicago White Sox came on in relief with two runners on base and retired Chris Young of the Arizona Diamondbacks on a foul pop to first base. The next batter Marlon Byrd with the Chicago Cubs walked to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Brian McCann of the Braves came to the plate and ripped a double to right, driving home all three runs.
After the three-run double Andrew Bailey of the Oakland Athletics came on for the final out, the damage was done as Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants pitched a perfect eighth. Jonathan Broxton of the Dodgers came on in the ninth. David Ortiz led off the ninth with a single, but Broxton set down the next three batters, including Ian Kinsler of the Rangers, who flew out to center to end the game.
It was the first time the National League won the All-Star Game since 1996. They had lost 13 straight, with one tie in 2002. After that tie, MLB to spice up the All-Star Game awarded the winner home field in the World Series, the AL won the first seven of these home-field games, before the National League broke through in 2010.