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Dodgers All-Star Game history in San Diego: Steve Garvey, stitches & an MVP award

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Steve Garvey, seen here winning the 1974 All-Star Game MVP, won the award again four years later in San Diego.
Steve Garvey, seen here winning the 1974 All-Star Game MVP, won the award again four years later in San Diego.
Photo: Focus on Sport via Getty Images

This year is the third time San Diego has hosted the MLB All-Star Game, and the first time at Petco Park. Here is a look back at the previous two times the midsummer classic was played in the city, and the Dodgers who were there.

The first time San Diego hosted the All-Star Game was in 1978, in the franchise's 10th year of existence. The game was played at San Diego Stadium on July 11.

The Dodgers won the pennant in 1977, which meant second-year manager Tommy Lasorda got to manage the National League All-Stars in 1978. Two Dodgers were voted to start in the game — first baseman Steve Garvey and outfielder Rick Monday, who started in right field for the NL.

Garvey was a full-blown star at this point, making his fifth of what would be eight straight All-Star appearances, and 10 overall in his career, including nine starts. After averaging 200 hits and 100 RBI while hitting .311 from 1974-77, Garvey before the All-Star break in 1978 had 103 hits and 59 RBI while hitting .297 in 86 games, right on schedule.

Monday, the first overall selection in the very first MLB draft, in 1965, was making his second career All-Star appearance, and his first since 1968 with the Athletics in their first year in Oakland. Monday was hitting .281/.366/.542 with 13 home runs and 39 RBI before the break in his second year in Los Angeles.

Monday batted seventh, and went 0-for-2 in the game, including grounding into a double play.

Joining Lasorda and his two All-Star starters were second baseman Davey Lopes, third baseman Ron Cey, outfielder Reggie Smith, and pitcher Tommy John.

For John, this was an especially notable honor since it was his first All-Star Game since having the elbow reconstruction surgery that now bears his name in 1975. John made one All-Star Game (1968), won 124 games and pitched 2,165⅔ innings before surgery, but afterward made three All-Star Games (1978-80), won 164 games and pitched 2,544⅔ innings.

After winning 20 games in 1977, John was 10-6 before the break in 1977, though with an ERA on the high side (3.80). Lasorda selected his left-hander for the All-Star team.

"Tommy's been pitching in tough luck," Lasorda told the Associated Press. "He's been much better than his record indicates."

John ended up not pitching in the All-Star Game in 1978, which was a thing that used to happen regularly before the game devolved into a contest of nearly guaranteed participation.

This was the first All-Star honor for Lopes, the spark plug at the top of the Dodgers lineup in his sixth full season. He was hitting .300 with a .401 on-base percentage, 48 walks and 56 runs scored in the first half in 1978, and also stole 25 bases in 26 attempts.

Lopes, who would play three more All-Star Games from 1979-81, in the game pinch ran for Pete Rose in the seventh inning, then hit an RBI single in the eighth inning off Goose Gossage to score Bob Boone. Lopes was then caught stealing second base by catcher Jim Sundberg. Lopes played the final two innings at second base.

Smith, in his sixth of seven career All-Star Games, pinch hit for starting pitcher Vida Blue in the third inning, then took over for Monday in right field in the fourth inning. Smith played four innings in the field and was 0-for-3 at the plate with two strikeouts.

Cey was hitting .266/.371/.439 with 20 doubles, 11 home runs, 56 RBI and 50 walks in the first half. This was Cey's fifth straight of what would be six straight All-Star appearances, including starts in 1974, 1975 and 1977.

The Penguin played the final two innings at third base in San Diego, taking over for Smith in the ninth spot in the NL batting order. Cey grounded out against Gossage in the eighth inning, one batter before Lopes' double.

But the game belonged to Garvey, who batted fifth and played all nine innings at first base. The only other time Garvey played all nine innings in the All-Star Game was 1974, and he took home game MVP honors.

In 1978, Garvey walked in the second inning, then hit a two-run single against starter Jim Palmer in the third inning, driving home Joe Morgan and George Foser of the Reds to tie the game at 3-3.

After grounding out in the fifth inning, Garvey led off the eighth inning with a triple against Gossage, with the game still tied. He scored on a wild pitch, giving the NL the lead. The 20 stitches mentioned in the video clip above were necessary after Garvey was hit by an errant pickoff throw in the chin by teammate Bob Welch three days earlier in the Astrodome.

"When I got to third base, I could feel an ache in my chin," Garvey told the Associated Press after the All-Star Game. "I think I popped a stitch. But I'll give a stitch for a triple any time."

Garvey, with his triple and earlier two-run single, had the top two plays of the game by win probability added (WPA), and won his second All-Star MVP award in five years.

The NL scored three times in the eighth inning to win 6-3, and Garvey won his second All-Star MVP award. Garvey in his career was 11-for-28 (.393) in his 10 All-Star Games, with two home runs, two triples, two doubles, two walks, seven runs scored and seven RBI.


San Diego would next host the All-Star Game 14 years later in the same venue, which was then known as Jack Murphy Stadium, on July 14.

After falling painfully short of a division title in 1991, the Dodgers were a bad team in 1992. They fell out of contention with 18 losses in June, and were 39-49 at the All-Star break, 13 games back in the division. The club would lose 99 games in 1992, finishing in last place for the first time since 1905.

Every club has to have at least one representative, and Dodgers' lone All-Star was Mike Sharperson, a 30-year-old utility man who only started 48 of 88 games before the All-Star break. But he was hitting .328 with a .424 on-base percentage, and already set a new career high with 15 doubles.

He made 29 starts at third base and 19 starts at second base in the first half, and was naturally thrilled to make what would be his only career All-Star appearance.

"This is a storybook ending," Sharperson told Bill Plaschke of the LA Times. "I still can't believe it has happened. I didn't think I played enough to get picked. I'm going down to San Diego and take pictures, get autographs."

Sharperson took over for Gary Sheffield at third base in the top of the eighth inning and played the final two innings at the hot corner. In his only plate appearance, Sharperson struck out against Dennis Eckersley in the ninth inning as the American League won 13-6.


Clayton Kershaw is on the disabled list and will watch, but shortstop Corey Seager and closer Kenley Jansen have a chance to make their own San Diego All-Star memories, both making their first appearances in the midsummer classic on Tuesday night at Petco Park.