The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is a little different than its NHL and NBA counterparts. Whereas those games pretty clearly devolve into defenseless shootouts, the nature of the Midsummer Classic is such that -- with the exception of many pitchers seeing action -- the box score and final score is often a realistic imitation of an actual game.
Thirty-one of the 85 MLB All-Star Games -- one per year every year since 1933, except 1945 (skipped due to World War II) and 1959-62 (two per year) -- featured a team scoring just one or fewer runs. That includes four of the past five years, an All-Star offensive drought never seen before, as well as 1961, when the American League and National League finished in a 1-1 tie after nine innings. (And they didn't even have to make the next one count!)
But instead of bemoaning the lack of offense in baseball in recent years, let's look back on the outbursts. Here are the six -- it was going to be five, but there was a tie -- highest-scoring All-Star Games.
Location: Comiskey Park (Chicago)
Result: AL 13, NL 3
Total runs: 16
The list of NL pitchers to get into this game doesn't exactly scream "dominant All-Star collection of arms": Mario Soto, Atlee Hammaker, Bill Dawley, Dave Dravecky, Pascual Perez, Jesse Orosco, Lee Smith. Hammaker can take most of the blame, giving up seven runs while recording two outs.
But to give credit where it is due, the AL lineup was, as one might expect, loaded. Fred Lynn (grand slam) and Jim Rice both went yard. Lou Whitaker had two pinch-hit RBIs. The list of AL batters to drive in one run is daunting: George Brett, Dave Winfield, Robin Yount, Rickey Henderson, Rod Carew and Willie Wilson.
It didn't hurt that Comiskey's once-daunting dimensions were less so for batters by 1983. It was only 401 feet to straightaway center, 341 down the lines.
Location: Polo Grounds (Manhattan)
Result: AL 9, NL 7
Total runs: 16
More impressive than the teams combining for 16 runs was that the pitchers held Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Mel Ott to a combined one RBI. Coming through most was Joe Medwick (three-run home run) for the NL and Earl Averill (double, triple, three RBIs) for the AL. Joe Cronin and Red Ruffing also drove in two runs apiece.
Lefty Gomez, who started a Major League-best five All-Star Games, was off his game that day. He allowed the NL four runs in three innings. Ruffing yielded three runs in his lone inning. On the NL side, Lon Warneke and Van Mungo each gave up four runs in their inning of work.
Location Ebbets Field (Brooklyn)
Result: AL 11, NL 7
Total runs: 18
Neither team wasted any time at the hitter-friendly Ebbets Field, which by 1949 was only 384 feet to center, 351 to left-center and 352 to right-center. The All-Stars combined for six runs in the first inning -- off Mel Parnell and Warren Spahn, no less.
Stan Musial and Ralph Kiner both went yard for the NL. No one could claim the same for the AL, but Joe and Dom DiMaggio combined for four RBIs
Its significance to the high-scoring aspect of the game is debatable, but this was the first time black players competed in the All-Star Game. Jackie Robinson scored three runs for the NL. The Dodgers' Roy Campanella (0-for-2) and the Indians' Larry Doby (0-for-1) had minimal offensive impacts, but Don Newcombe allowed the AL two runs in his 2 2/3 innings.
Location: Jack Murphy Stadium (San Diego)
Result: AL 13, NL 6
Total runs: 19
The AL struck early and often at what is now Qualcomm Stadium, among the most hitter-friendly parks after the Padres moved the fences in about 10 years prior. A Ruben Sierra homer in particular barely got out over the short right-field fence.
The AL jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first and a 10-0 advantage by the time the NL got on the board in the sixth. That said, no AL batter collected more than a pair of RBIs. Four -- Ken Griffey Jr., Mark McGwire, Roberto Kelly and Sierra -- had two apiece.
On the NL side, Will Clark had the big blow, a three-run home run off Rick Aguilera in the eighth, and Bip Roberts drove in a pair after replacing Barry Bonds.
Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux spotted the AL a 6-0 lead during their combined three innings. Bob Tewksbury yielded four runs in 1 2/3, and Doug Jones finished the NL's hole-digging by allowing the AL three runs in the eighth.
All that in just 2 hours, 55 minutes.
Location: Cleveland Stadium (Cleveland)
Result: AL 11, NL 9
Total runs: 20
This game makes this list as a result of two all-time great All-Star Game offensive performers.
For the NL, there was Reds first baseman Ted Kluszewski, who ranks among the all-time leaders (minimum 12 plate appearances) in All-Star Game average (.500, tied for first), slugging percentage (.929, third) and OPS (1.429, first). In the 1954 Midsummer Classic, Big Klu went 2-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs and two runs scored.
For the AL, Indians corner infielder Al Rosen batted fifth, serving as protection for Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. He finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored. His two homers and five RBIs are both tied (with Ted Williams' 1946 effort) for single-game All-Star Game records. His nine total bases trail only that same Williams performance.
Locations: Coors Field (Denver)
Result: AL 13, NL 8
Total runs: 21
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the highest-scoring All-Star Game ever happened during the late 1990s at a park famously (or infamously) conducive to scoring.
Remarkably, the teams combined for just five extra-base hits (three home runs). Ten batters are credited with driving a run in for the AL, but Cal Ripken Jr. is the only one of them with two. Alex Rodriguez (2-for-3, two runs scored) and Roberto Alomar (3-for-4, two runs scored) both hit home runs.
For the NL, offense was more centralized. Greg Vaughn and Tony Gwynn both drove in a pair. Barry Bonds walloped a three-run home run.
A 25-year-old Bartolo Colon allowed three runs in one inning to record the win.
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Tim Healey is a contributor to Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.