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by Harold Friend
Tickets for the 1954 all-star game, which was played in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium on July 13, went on sale on June 2. Commissioner Ford Frick announced that the host club Indians would be handle ticket sales. Prices were reduced to $6 for box seats, $4 for reserved seats, $2 for standing room, and $1 for bleacher seats, compared to 1953 prices of $7, $5, $4, and $1.50.
Fans Selected the Eight Starting Players
Fans voted for each league's eight starting players, who were required to play for at least the first three innings. The managers rounded out the rest of the squads. The most difficult decision fans had to make was the selection of the National League's center fielder.
Willie Mays, fresh from a stint in the army, was having a great season, but so was Duke Snider. The Duke of Flatbush was batting around .370, could hit, hit with power, and was an outstanding fielder. In 1954,the more experienced Duke was often described as Willie Mays with polish. Snider was not as exciting as Willie was, but he was a solid player who was Willie's equal.
Mickey Mantle in Center Field
The American League had some outstanding center fielders, including Mickey Mantle, Larry Doby, Bill Tuttle, and Jim Busby; Tuttle and Busby were among the greatest defensive center fielders in history. Mantle was having a decent season, which would have been considered an excellent season if he was not Mickey Mantle, but it was not even close to Duke or Willie's season.
Duke Snider Beat Out Willie Mays
On July 5, the starting teams were announced. Duke Snider was the National League's starting center fielder, and Mickey Mantle was the American League's starting center fielder. Duke received 1,388,704 votes compared to Willie's 1.063.918. Mickey easily beat out second place finisher Bill Tuttle.
The American League Lost Four Consecutive All-Star Games Under Casey Stengel
Casey Stengel managed the 1954 American League all-stars. It was the fifth consecutive year Casey managed the team, and he was still after his first win. The National League, once the all-star game's doormat, had reversed things, and has won four consecutive games. The National League manager was Walt Alston, who was replacing Charlie Dressen because Charlie listened to wife's advice, asked the Brooklyn Dodgers for a multi-year contract, and was fired.
Al Rosen's Two Home Runs
In a mildly surprising move, Casey Stengel selected young Whitey Ford to start, while Walt Alston picked Robin Roberts, who was starting his fourth all-star game in five years. Third baseman Al Rosen went to Stengel before the game to tell him that if he wanted to remove from the starting lineup because of his broken finger, he would understand. Stengel declined the offer and Rosen hit two home runs in an 11-9 American League victory.
Both Leagues Wanted to Win Badly
In 1954, the all-star game was not a show - it was baseball game each league wanted to win. The managers managed to win, not to entertain the fans. The used their best players, even if it meant they would play the entire game. If a player didn't get into the game, it was because the manager used a player he thought would increase his chances of winning.
ALL-STAR BOX SEATS $6 :Tickets to Go on Sale Sunday for Cleveland Game July 13 . (1954, June 3). New York Times (1857-Current File),33. Retrieved April 5, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 83337139).
By ARTHUR DALEY. (1954, June 27). Sports of The Times :Casting a Ballot. New York Times (1857-Current file),S2. Retrieved April 5, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 92592624).
YANKEES, DODGERS PLACE THREE EACH :Musial No. 1 Choice in the Final Tabulation of Votes for All-Star Game. (1954, July 5). New York Times (1857-Current file),p. 14. Retrieved April 5, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 83766012).
By JOHN DREBINGERSpecial to The New York Times.. (1954, July 14). American League's 17 Hits End National's All-Star Game Streak at Four :BATTING OF ROSEN PACES 11-9 VICTORY Indian Slugger Hits 2 Homers and Drives In 5 Runs for American League Stars. New York Times (1857-Current file),p. 34. Retrieved April 5, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 84126253).