Cincinnati Reds and the All-Star Game MVP


Now that we’ve closed the book on this year’s All-Star Game and look forward to the second half of the season, I’ll take one last look at All-Star Game related “stuff”.

First things, first. The National League did score an 8-0 victory last night and Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants, returning to Kansas City where he played last season, was named as the ASG MVP. The first year such was awarded was 1962 when Maury Wills took home the honor. So we’re looking at 50 years of ASG MVPs. Even though no Reds player won the ASG MVP last night, the Reds have had five players receive the award.

Tony Perez (1967)

Selecting Perez was possibly extremely easy. Maybe one of the easiest selections ever.

Perez entered the game in the bottom of the 10th as a replacement for starter Dick Allen. Both were more known as first basemen, but both played third during the ’67 season. And yes, Allen played 9.5 innings in an All-Star Game. Won’t see that these days.

Doggie made his mark with one swing. After Catfish Hunter retired Orlando Cepeda, Perez came to the plate. He took a Hunter offering out of to deep left field. His blast propelled the NL to a 2-1, 15-inning win. Odd fact here. Both NL runs came off the bats of Perez and Allen and both were home runs.

This was the first of three All-Star Games to have been held in Anaheim.

Tommy Helms and Pete Rose were also on the NL roster.

Joe Morgan (1972)

Morgan would play the entire game having been selected as the NL’s starting second baseman. The only other NL starter to play all 10 innings (yes, another extra inning game that wasn’t a tie, Mr. Selig) was Lee May. Morgan and May were involved in the deal that saw them switch teams. Morgan to Cincy, May to Houston.

Thank you, Houston.

Small ball played the key this time around. Nate Colbert led off the bottom of the 10th with a walk. Colbert was advanced to second base with a sacrifice bunt (in an All-Star Game? No way!) by current Reds bench coach Chris Speier. Morgan would follow with a walk-off (although that wasn’t the case as much in ’72) single to deliver a 4-3 NL win.

Other Reds joining Morgan on the NL roster were Johnny Bench, Clay Carroll and Gary Nolan.

George Foster (1976)

The biggest baseball story of the Bicentennial may not have been the second of back-to-back World Series wins by the Big Red Machine. Who am I kidding? Of course it was! Add that the Reds swept the Yankees made it even better.

Baseball’s second biggest story of 1976 had to be Mark Fidrych. The Detroit Tiger rookie completely mesmorized the world of baseball with his antics while on the mound. Talking to the baseball was one. Manicuring the mound was another. To some, “The Bird” was a breath of fresh air.

Foster would record his first of three RBI in the ’76 ASG off Fidrych on a fielder’s choice. Boring, huh? His other 2 RBI came from a big blast which would come in the bottom of the 3rd inning and a familiar name was in the action. Foster sent a Catfish Hunter offering over the Veterans Stadium left-center field wall. At the time, the NL took a 4-0 lead en route to a 7-1 victory.

Four other Reds joined Foster as starters: Rose, Morgan, Bench and Dave Concepcion. The only player of the “Great Eight” that didn’t play in this ASG was Cesar Geronimo. Perez and Ken Griffey were subs.

Ken Griffey (1980)

The only Reds starter was Bench (there’s a royal shock) even though the Reds sent a total of four players. While Bench only had one at-bat (a groundout), the other three Reds contributed to an NL 4-2 win. Ray Knight scored a run on a George Hendrick single. Dave Concepcion scored on a wild pitch by Dave Stieb.

Griffey was one of two NL All-Stars to record more than one hit. The other was Keith Hernandez. Both of the hits by Hernandez were singles and he didn’t drive in any runs. Another difference was Griffey’s biggest hit was a home run off Tommy John.

Dave Concepcion (1982)

The last Reds player to receive an ASG MVP. It was also the only ASG ever held at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Concepcion was one of three Reds, but he was the only starter. Mario Soto and Tom Hume were also in Montreal.

The player known more for his defense provided all the offense the NL would need.

Batting 7th in a stacked starting NL lineup (Tim Raines, Rose, Andre Dawson, Mike Schmidt, Gary Carter and Dale Murphy were ahead of him in the order), Concepcion made his mark on the game in the bottom of the 2nd. With Murphy on first due to a walk by AL starter Dennis Eckersley, Concepcion lined a shot which cleared the left field wall. It wasn’t a moonshot by any means, but it got the job done.

As mentioned in another post, Hume got the save for the NL as they won, 4-1.