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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cincinnati Hosts Its First All-Star Game

Joe Schirmer would take a dime and walk from his home in Walnut Hills to Crosley Field with his knothole tickets in his pocket.

"The walk was downhill on the way to Crosley Field but the trip back was uphill.  For a dime we could ride the streetcar home," Schirmer said.


The 16-year old remembered the 1938 All-Star game won by the National League and hometown hero, starting pitcher Johnny Vander Meer.  Vander Meer pitched two no-hitters in back-to-back starts earlier in the season.

Joe was not one of the 27,067 fans that attended the sixth All-Star contest but in spite of the relative lack of promotion compared to the vast marketing of the event, Cincinnati is getting a fifth turn at hosting the Midsummer Classic in 2015.

"We didn't have television and a lot of radio coverage then," Schirmer said.  "I followed the sport through the Cincinnati Post and Cincinnati Times-Star."

The two papers published several afternoon editions, one of which was a "sports" edition which featured the Reds' games daily on the front page.  Schirmer sold the paper for two cents to earn money as he attended an automotive high school which did not hava a baseball team.  Schirmer played sandlot baseball with his five brothers.

By reading the abbreviated game stories in the papers, he knew of the All-Star game participants chosen in those days by the manager.  There were eight teams in each league.  Tha All-Star rosters chosen by Joe McCarthy (Yankees) and Bill Terry (Giants) handpicked the 24 players.

The hometown was represented by outfielder Ival Goodman, firstbaseman Frank McCormick, catcher Ernie Lombardi and pitchers Vander Meer and Paul Derringer.

"The Reds were usually in sixth or seventh place," Schirmer said. "The Reds had good pitching.  They had Paul Derringer, Red Lucas and Vander Meer.  Vander Meer was a great pitcher.  The Reds didn't have much hitting in my mind. If he pitched for a better team, he would have won a lot more games."

The 1938 Reds finished with 82 wins in fourth place after 10 straight losing seasons. The Reds were on the verge of winning two straight National League pennants in 1939 and 1940.

"Powell Crosley bought the team and brought in Larry McPhail," Schirmer said.  "The Reds before McPhail would pick up older players that they could get cheap."

The American League featured Joe Dimaggio, Bill Dickey and Joe Cronin.

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"Bill Dickey was overrated in my mind," Schirmer said. "Dickey played for a team that got a lot of notoriety but I think Lombardi was a better catcher. Don't get me wrong, Dickey was a better defensive catcher but Lombardi could hit."

The National League won the game 4-1 and included one of the oddest plays in All-Star game history.

Seventh inning play-by-play: Lefty Grove pitching and Frank McCormick hit a single. Leo Durocher of the Brooklyn Dodgers laid down a bunt to move the runner to second. When Jimmie Foxx fielded the ball, he overthrew first base and Joe DiMaggio retrieved the ball. Durocher had been circling the bases and was approaching home when DiMaggio attempted to throw him out, but overthrew the plate allowing Durocher to score.

Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
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