1971 MLB All-Star Game: Greatest Midsummer Classic Ever!

Thomas CoglianoCorrespondent IJuly 13, 2008

The 1971 All-Star Game held at Tiger Stadium in Detroit was the greatest Midsummer Classic of all time. Granted, the game did not come down to a walk-off hit or a final at-bat; however, the game did achieve a plethora of feats.


First, this game featured the longest home run ever hit in the history of the Midsummer Classic.


Second, all the runs scored in this game were all driven home by home runs. Six homeruns were hit in all, three by the American League and three by the National League.


Third, all six home runs were hit by six different players, all of whom would later be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.


The scoring started in the top of the second inning when American League starting pitcher Vida Blue (Oakland) surrendered a two-run home run to Johnny Bench (Cincinnati) after hitting Willie Stargell with a pitch. [National League 2, American League 0]


In the top of the third inning, Hank Aaron (Atlanta) smashed a solo blast off Vida Blue to extend the NL’s lead to 3. [National League 3, American League 0]


In the bottom of the third inning, the American League finally got around to National League starting pitcher Dock Ellis (Pittsburgh). With one on and nobody out, Reggie Jackson (Oakland) smashed a towering two-run home run that ricocheted off the light tower hovering over the right field roof of Tiger Stadium. 


The home run was estimated to have traveled 540 feet! Ellis was rattled because with one on and two outs later in the inning, Ellis surrendered another two-run home run. This one belonged to Frank Robinson (Baltimore). [National League 3, American League 4]


In the bottom of the sixth inning, the American League extended its lead with a two-run home run by Harmon Killebrew (Minnesota). This gave the AL a three-run lead. [National League 3, American League 6]


In the top of the eighth, Roberto Clemente (Pittsburgh) ended the scoring for the night with a solo shot off Mickey Lolich (Detroit). [National League 4, American League 6]


Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, and Roberto Clemente all homered in the 1971 All Star Game. All six players were later inducted into the Hall of Fame.


The blast by Reggie Jackson in the third inning was the longest in the history of the Midsummer Classic.


The homerun hit by Roberto Clemente was the final at-bat for the legendary right fielder in the Midsummer Classic. Following the conclusion of the next season, Clemente was killed in a plane crash while trying to assist victims of a devastating Nicaraguan earthquake.


The American League's 6-4 victory over the National League in the 1971 All-Star Game was its only victory in the Midsummer Classic during the 1970s.