Monday, July 11, 2016

Phillies MLB All-Star Games: 1976

The city of Philadelphia has played host to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game four times in the 83-year history of baseball's midsummer classic.
In both 1943 and 1952 the game was held at Shibe Park, with the NL taking the first by a 5-3 score and the AL coming back with a 3-2 victory in the second game at the old ballpark at 22nd and Lehigh that would later be renamed as Connie Mack Stadium. The Phillies were listed as the official hosts of the 1952 game.
The last two times that the game was played in here in 1976 and 1996, Veteran's Stadium was the scene of the festivities. Citizens Bank Park has yet to do the honors.
Let's take a quick look back at that Phillies-hosted affair in front of 63,974 fans including the President of the United States at The Vet during the celebration of America's Bicentennial in the summer of 1976.
It was a great time for both the city and for the team to be hosting the game
. Of course, Philadelphia is one of the most important historic cities in the United States, and thus having one of the American pastime's showcase events here as the nation was celebrating its 200th birthday was almost a no-brainer.


For the team's part, the Phillies had begun emerging over the last 2-3 seasons as legitimate contenders in the National League after nearly a decade of futility.
With the opening of Veteran's Stadium in 1971, the trade for Steve Carlton in 1972, and an influx of homegrown talent the team was primed to make a run at the NL East Division crown that summer. In fact, they would capture that crown, and the next two in succession as well.
Rose helped Luzinski & Schmidt finally get over the playoff hump
Luzinski started and Schmidt was a reserve for the National League in the 1976 MLB All-Star Game at The Vet.
As a nod to their emerging talents, the Phillies placed five players on that 1976 NL All-Star squad, with left fielder Greg Luzinski elected by the fans as the starter in left field.
Joining 'The Bull' on the NL roster were 3/4 of the team's starting infield: 2nd baseman Dave Cash, shortstop Larry Bowa, and 3rd baseman Mike Schmidt
Catcher Bob Boone was on the team, and their manager Danny Ozark served as a coach.
Only manager Sparky Anderson's 'Big Red Machine', who were the defending World Series champions and would go on to win another that season, placed more players on the squad. 
The Reds had seven NL All-Stars, including future Phillies Pete RoseJoe Morgan, and Tony Perez.
Appearing as reserves with the NL squad was former Phillies pitcher Woody Fryman, then of the Montreal Expos, former and future Phillies pitcher Dick Ruthven of the Atlanta Braves, future Phillies 1st baseman Al Oliver, and outfielder Bake McBride, who would be dealt to the Phillies the following June.
Rose, Ruthven, and McBride would all go on to become key contributors to the Phils' 1980 World Series championship squad.
Luzinski was slotted into the 5th spot in Anderson's starting lineup. Rose led off followed by 1st baseman Steve Garvey of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Morgan hit 3rd and center fielder George Foster hit cleanup.
Larry Bowa
Shortstop Bowa was one of four Phillies players to serve as reserves in the 1976 MLB All-Star Game for the National League.
Behind Luzinski came Reds' catcher Johnny Bench, Cubs' right field masher Dave Kingman, shortstop Dave Concepcion of Cincinnati, and the starting pitcher was Randy Jones of the San Diego Padres.
The American League, managed by Darrell Johnson of the Boston Red Sox, featured starters from six different teams, three from the Detroit Tigers. One of the AL reserves was former Phillies infielder Don Money.
Leading off for the AL was one of those Tigers, left fielder Ron LeFloreRod Carew of the Minnesota Twins was at 1st base and hit in the 2-spot, while Kansas City Royals 3rd baseman George Brett hit 3rd.
Batting cleanup was New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson, with Fred Lynn, the reigning AL MVP and Rookie of the Year of the Red Sox, hitting 5th position. He was followed by shortstop Toby Harrah of the Texas Rangers, right fielder Rusty Staub of the Tigers, and 2nd baseman Bobby Grich of the Baltimore Orioles.
On the mound and batting 9th for the junior circuit was the most colorful player of the season, pitcher Mark Fydrich. 
'The Bird' was known for talking to the baseball, walking around the mound, and other histrionics, and was in the midst of a season that would see him win the AL Rookie of the Year Award and finish 2nd for the league's Cy Young Award honors.
Robin Roberts served as the NL 'Honorary Captain' for the game, with Bob Lemon receiving the honor for the AL. 
This was the first MLB All-Star Game at which both "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the Canadian national anthem of "Oh, Canada" were both played, and both have been played at every game since. The first pitch was thrown out by U.S. President Gerald Ford.


In the actual game, the NL bolted out to an early lead, scoring twice off Fydrich in the bottom of the 1st inning. Rose led off with a single and came around to score on a triple by Garvey, who then scored on a one-out grounder by Foster to make it a 2-0 game.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Morgan singled with one out, and Foster then crushed a two-run bomb deep to left-center field off Catfish Hunter of the Yankees to double the lead to 4-0.
The AL got one back in the top of the 4th when Lynn pounded a pitch from the Mets' Tom Seaver out deep down the right field line to make it a 4-1 game.
BobBoone00000_20080626272
Boone went 0-2 at the plate, but was behind the dish at the end as the NL wrapped up a 7-1 win in the 1976 All-Star Game at The Vet.
In the top of the 5th, the home crowd was pleased to find both Bowa and Boone inserted into the lineup. 
Cash and Schmidt would enter the game the following inning, the same frame that Money, the man Schmidt had replaced at the Phils' 3rd base position a few years earlier, would enter for the American League.
In the top of the 7th, Luzinski would finally be lifted for pinch-hitter Ken Griffey after an 0-3 performance. The Phils' contingent would go a collective 1-8, with only Cash producing a base hit.
That hit from the Phillies veteran leader came to lead off the bottom of the 8th against California Angels lefty Frank Tanana. Perez drew a walk to follow Cash, and the Phils' 2nd sacker then moved over to 3rd base when Bill Russell hit into a doubleplay.
With two outs and the score still at 4-1, Griffey delivered an RBI single to score Cash. Cesar Cedeno of the Houston Astros then stepped in and blasted a two-run homer deep into the left field stands off Tanana, blowing the game open to a 7-1 lead for the NL that would hold up as the final score.
As pitcher Ken Forsch wrapped the game up in the bottom of the 9th with a 1-2-3 inning, retiring Money, Chris Chambliss, and Amos Otis in order, only Boone and Cash remained on the field for the host Phillies and the National League.
That would mark the last time that the Phillies would host the MLB All-Star Game for two decades, when the popular exhibition contest among baseball's top stars would finally return to Veteran's Stadium in South Philly for one final time.


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