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On This Date in Sports July 8, 1997

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The All-Stars return to Cleveland to rock Jacob’s Field, in the first All-Star Game played in the era of interleague play. The American League snaps a three game losing streak, with a 3-1 win as Sandy Alomar Jr. of the Cleveland Indians, wins the game and the MVP award with a two run home run in the seventh inning of Shawn Estes of the San Francisco Giants. It marked the first time in the history of the All-Star Game, that a player from the host team was named MVP. The win for the American League would start a period of unprecedented dominance, as the American League wins 12 of the next 13 mid-summer classics, with one tie. With the win, the American League’s record in All-Star Games improved to 27-40-1.

In a season in which Jackie Robinson, was honored all season for the 50th anniversary of his breaking the color barrier, the game’s location in Cleveland game baseball a chance to honor Larry Doby, the man who followed Jackie, and was almost forgotten. Doby the first black man to play in the American League was also celebrating the 50th anniversary of his debut with the Indians. Doby, who would be elected to the Hall of Fame the following season, threw out the first pitch after receiving a rousing ovation. Larry Doby would also serve as honorary captain of the American League. Frank Robinson, who in 1975 was the first African American Manager with the Indians, served as honorary captain of the National League.

The American League opened the scoring in the second inning, as Edgar Martinez of the Seattle Mariners homered off Atlanta Braves ace Greg Maddux. The lead held until the seventh inning, as the NL managed just one hit in the first six innings off start Randy Johnson of Mariners, Roger Clemens of the Toronto Blue Jays, David Cone of the New York Yankees, Justin Thompson of the Detroit Tigers and Toronto’s Pat Hentgen. The National League finally dented the scoreboard when Javier Lopez of the Atlanta Braves took Jose Rosado of the Kanas City Royals deep, setting the stage for Sandy Alomar’s heroics. Closing out the game was Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, who recorded the first of his record four All-Star saves with a perfect ninth inning.

One year after Sandy Alomar Jr. won MVP honors in home ballpark, brother Roberto Alomar playing with the Baltimore Orioles followed suit winning MVPs honors as the American League beat the National League 13-8 at Coors Field in Colorado, marking the only siblings to win All-Star MVP honors in baseball.