The Greatest MLB All-Star Game Ever Happened In 1994

I was 15 years old in 1994. I was in an awkward stage of development, somewhere between an ugly child and uglier adult. But I was still a huge baseball fan at that point, and I can confidently say that the 1994 edition of the MLB All-Star Game was the greatest all-star game ever played.

It had everything. It had a game-tying home run in the ninth. It had a walkoff winner featuring a mad dash home by Tony Gwynn. And it had this incredibly over-the-top national anthem by Glenny Balls's grandfather.

I was still in the mindset that baseball was my favorite sport because I had been a diehard Giants fans and Braves fan up until that point of my life. I'll clear up the confusion: I was a Giants fan because of my love for Mississippi State legend Will Clark and I was a Braves fan because I lived in Mississippi. The Giants fandom didn't stick.

Anyway, 1994 is pretty much my favorite year ever for many reasons, but let's break down three factors that make this game legendary.

1) Fred McGriff game-tying home run

It's 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth. The National League has lost six All-Star Games in a row. The always-underrated Fred McGriff steps in against the somehow always present Lee Smith. And bam. Game-tying home run with and immaculate bat twirl. This is one of my favorite sports moments ever that doesn't really count for anything. Bob Costas on the call is either great or terrible, and I can't decide which.

Also, is anybody ready to have a conversation about Fred McGriff? 493 HR, no juice, just consistently one of the best hitters of the 90's. Won a World Series in his prime and was the backbone of a team that was always near the top of the sports. Fred McGriff should have been in the Hall of Fame years ago and his absence is egregious.

Also, White Sox Dave cheated in trivia and clearly read the wrong list when he googled most active home runs, leading to the infamous Crime Dog moment on the Dozen.

2) Tony F'n Gwynn scores from 1st

In my opinion, the most exciting ending to an All-Star Game right here. It starts with Moises Alou, wearing the beautiful Expos uniform of 1994. And I love any hitter without batting gloves.

He puts one in the gap, and Tony Gwynn, who was a little chubby at the time, motored around the bases in what is kind of the highlight of his incredible career. It's a beautiful relay from left but Gwynn beats the throw and tag by a millisecond and NL wins.

Everything about that play was beautiful.

3) The Home Run Derby was in the golden age of steroids.


No, steroids hadn't yet turned Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire into over-veined, under-testicled brontosauri yet. Instead, we were still in the glory days of steroids, where guys like Ruben Sierra were just decently jacked. A time when Albert Belle looked big but he only assaulted people, not record books so everything was all good. Also Frank Thomas is just there being huge without the need for drugs. Frank Thomas is under-appreciated as hell.

Also, look at the names in this contest. Ruben Sierra, Dante Bichette, Albert Belle, Jeff Bagwell, Fred McGriff, Ken Griffey, Frank Thomas and Mike Piazza. 

There's something about prime Ken Griffey, Jr. before the roidheads took over the game that makes me smile.