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The history of the Dodgers hosting the All-Star Game

A few days before the fourth time the Dodgers will host the midsummer classic

Roy Campanella, Larry Doby, Don Newcombe, and Jackie Robinson were the first Black players to play in an NL/AL All-Star Game, in 1949 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.
Roy Campanella, Larry Doby, Don Newcombe, and Jackie Robinson were the first Black players to play in an NL/AL All-Star Game, in 1949 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.

Dodger Stadium is hosting the All-Star Game for the first time in 42 years, a fact that has been repeated ad nauseam for months. But this is the fourth time the Dodgers are hosts for the midsummer classic, having also done so in their previous two ballparks in Los Angeles and Brooklyn.

1949: Ebbets Field, Brooklyn

The first time the Dodgers hosted the All-Star Game was in 1949 in Brooklyn, when the Boys of Summer were nearing their peak of their powers. Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese were voted by fans to start in the middle infield.

This was Robinson’s third season, but what made this game notable was that it was the first All-Star Game to feature any Black players. Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe were among the Dodgers reserves, and Cleveland’s Larry Doby was an American League All-Star.

In all, the Dodgers had seven All-Stars, with Gil Hodges plus pitchers Preacher Roe and Ralph Branca among the quintet of Brooklyn reserves added by Braves manager Billy Southworth.

Reese and Robinson batted one and two for the NL, and both played all nine innings. Reese was hitless in five at-bats, but walked. Robinson doubled, walked, and scored three times.

Hodges pinch-ran for Johnny Mize in the third inning and played the final six innings at first base, going 1-for-3 with a run scored. Campanella took over at catcher in the fourth and caught the rest of the way, walking once in his three trips to the plate. It was the first of eight NL/AL All-Star Games for both.

Newcombe took over for Spahn mid-inning in the second, and recorded eight outs. But he allowed a pair of fourth-inning runs and got hung with the loss. Preacher Roe pitched a perfect ninth inning, but the NL lost 11-7.

1959: Los Angeles Coliseum

In their second year in Los Angeles, the Dodgers hosted the first-even All-Star Game west of St. Louis. For many American League players this was their first time playing out west, in the majors anyway.

Los Angeles Dodgers Don Drysdale...
Don Drysdale made his first All-Star teams in 1959, including a start at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

This was the second of two All-Star Games in 1959, played on Monday, August 3, twenty-seven days after that year’s first All-Star Game, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. There were two All-Star games for four years (1959-62) to help raise money for the players’ pension fund.

The start time was 4 p.m. PT, but strategically chosen to be shown in the evening on the East Coast. making this the first night All-Star Game since the run of 1942-1944 games, during World War II.

Don Drysdale was 22 years old in his fourth MLB season, and would lead the league in strikeouts for the first of three times in his career. Drysdale started both All-Star Games in 1959, two of five career midsummer classic starts.

Drysdale got the loss in the game at the Coliseum, allowing three runs in three innings, all the scoring coming on home runs from Frank Malzone and Yogi Berra. Drysdale did strike out five, his most in an All-Star Game. He shares the Dodgers record for most strikeouts in an All-Star Game, along with Fernando Valenzuela in 1986.

Also starting for the NL was left fielder Wally Moon, the left-handed hitter known for his “Moon shots” down the short left field line at the Coliseum for extra bases. This was his first year with the Dodgers, and in the All-Star Game he was 0-for-2 with two walks.

Dodgers infielders Jim Gilliam and Charley Neal made the midsummer classic as reserves. Gilliam pinch-hit for Johnny Temple and walked in the fifth inning, and played the final four innings at third base. Gilliam homered in the seventh inning off Billy O’Dell to pull the NL to within a run. It was the fourth Dodgers home run in All-Star history.

Down two in the ninth with two outs and the tying runs on base, Gilliam grounded to first base to end the game. Neal played the final four innings at second base, and grounded out in his only at-bat, in his first of two career All-Star Games.

1980: Dodger Stadium

Maybe the most anticipated aspect of this All-Star Game was the debut of Diamond Vision, the all-color first-of-its-kind video board in left field from Mitsubishi that reportedly cost $3 million.

Four Dodgers were voted by fans to start this game at Dodger Stadium — first baseman Steve Garvey in his seventh straight start, and the first midsummer classic in which he did not score a run; second baseman Davey Lopes, in his third of four straight All-Star Games, and second time starting; outfielder Reggie Smith, at 35 starting his seventh and final All-Star Game; and shortstop Bill Russell, who made two previous midsummer classics (1973, 1976) but this was his first time starting, and his last All-Star Game.

K. Griffey Hit Home Run In All-Star Game
Ken Griffey Sr. of the Reds was the MVP of the 1980 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.

This was the last time the Dodgers had multiple position players start in the All-Star Game, until Mookie Betts and Trea Turner turned the trick this year.

None of the Dodgers starters reached base, going 0-for-7.

Bob Welch, the Dodgers’ first-round draft pick in 1977 and getting his first extended chance at starting in 1980, made his first of two career All-Star Games. He pitched three innings and struck out four but allowed a two-run home run to Fred Lynn that gave the American League its first runs of the game.

Jerry Reuss, who threw a no-hitter in San Francisco eleven days earlier, followed Welch and pitched a scoreless sixth inning, striking out all three batters — Darrell Porter, Buddy Bell, and Tommy John — he faced. The National League rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to regain the lead, making Reuss the pitcher of record. He earned the win.

Reuss is the last Dodgers pitcher to earn the win in an All-Star Game. So far, every time the Dodgers host an All-Star Game, one of their pitchers gets the decision.

Will Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, or Tyler Anderson follow suit on Tuesday?