On This Date in Sports July 14, 1987

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Pitching dominates the day at the All-Star Game in Oakland, as the National League needs 13 innings to win the game 2-0. It is the longest an All-Star Game went without a run scoring, and the second lowest scoring game. The scoreless marathon was finally decided in the 13th inning when Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos, who earns MVP honors delivered a clutch two out triple off Oakland Athletics Reliever Jay Howell.

The three big stories of the first half of the 1987 season in Major League were drugs, juiced balls, and collusion keeping player salaries artificially down. The season began with New York Mets superstar Dwight Gooden checking into rehab for cocaine addiction. As the season began there was a noticeable increase in offense. Among the players leading the upsurge in offense was Mark McGwire of the Athletics, who would hit 49 home runs the most ever for a rookie. Across the board home runs increased as four of the top six home run marks during the decade were accomplished in 1987. While theories of why the baseball went far and wide, there was no doubt that owners were colluding with each other to keep salaries from escalating as some of baseball’s biggest free agents had trouble finding a home.

Two players who were the face of collusion were Andre Dawson and Tim Raines who were coming off big seasons with the Montreal Expos in 1986. Dawson, who desperately wanted to leave Montreal and play for a team with a grass field had to practically beg the Chicago Cubs to sign him for $500,000 at the start of spring training. Dawson, would hit a league leading 49 home runs for the Cubs and was named National League MVP. The case of Tim Raines was even more aggrieves as he won the batting title for the Expos in 1986. Throughout the entire off-season Raines went without a contract, a situation that continued once the 1987 season started. Raines spent all of April on the sidelines and finally agreed to return to Montreal on May 1st. At the time players who were free agents after two months after the initial signing period began could not negotiate with their former team until May 1st. Without playing any games in spring training, Tim Raines returned to action on May 2nd and went 4-for-5, with a triple and a tenth inning Grand Slam against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. Despite missing all of April, Tim Raines quickly became the Expos leading hitter and was named to the All-Star team, where he would go on to win MVP honors.

Tim Raines provided the only offense in the All-Star Game, with his two run triple in the 13th, but there was tons of great defensive plays and outstanding pitchers performances. Bret Saberhagen of the Kansas City Royals, Jack Morris of the Detroit Tigers, Mark Langston of the Seattle Mariners, Dan Plesac of the Milwaukee Brewers, Dave Righetti of the New York Yankees and Tom Henke of the Toronto Blue Jays allowed just five hits in 11 innings before Howell came on in the 12th. While the National League got shutout ball from Mike Scott of the Houston Astros, Rick Sutcliffe of the Chicago Cubs, Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Rick Reuschel of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds Closer John Franco, Philadelphia Phillies Reliever Steve Bedrosian, with Lee Smith of the Cubs getting the win and the Mets lefty Sid Fernandez recording the final three outs for the save. In a desperate attempt to win the game in the ninth inning Dave Winfield of the Yankees attempted to score from second base on a grounder to first. With runners at first and second, Keith Hernandez of the Mets fielded the grounder and forced Dwight Evans of the Boston Red Sox out at second, but Shortstop Hubie Brooks could not complete the double play as Harold Reynolds of the Seattle Mariners beat the relay at first with Bedrosian covering. Winfield hoping to take advantage tried to score, but Bedrock alertly threw home where Ozzie Virgil Jr. of the Atlanta Braves was able to hold on and make the tag in a collision at home plate. Brooks and Virgil later would factor in the National League’s 13th inning rally as they both singled and scored ahead of Raines’ game winning triple. With the win the NL improved to 37-20-1 all-time in All-Star Games.

Tim Raines would be among a group of players awarded damages when the collusion scandal came to light in 1990 and was settled for $280 players to be split among the aggrieved players. The collusion case would be the beginning of a mistrust between owners and players that ultimately blew up with the 1994 strike that wiped out the postseason.