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Then & now: Kansas City MLB blowout brings us back to ’73

July 12, 2012 | By Matthew Murray | Archive, Photography, Photojournalism, Sport

Back in 1973, the first time the MLB All-Star Game was in Kansas City, there was no Home Run Derby, Futures Game or Legends & Celebrity Softball Game. But it was quite the spectacle.

Hank Aaron played and so did Willie Mays, in his final and record-tying 24th All-Star Game (the other record holder for 24 is Stan Musial). Most players don’t even play 24 years in the big leagues, never mind making the All-Star roster for nearly a quarter century.

Both games, ironically enough, were blow-outs, with the 1973 Game resulting in a 7-1 National League win and the National League winning again in 2012, 8-0 — which reminds me of a classic quote from Yogi Berra: “It’s deja vu all over again.”

With this in mind, here are a few iconic shots from the MLB All-Star Game, both 39 years ago and this past Tuesday.

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A general view of an American Flag being stretched out and help by Military Personnel as a Stealth Bomber performs a flyover during the 83rd MLB All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium on July 10, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

 The Stadium

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The scoreboard shows the portrait of outfielder Hal McRae #11 of the Kansas City Royals after McRae singled to score Freddie Patek with the tie-breaking run in the bottom of the fourteenth inning of a game on April 17, 1973 against the Oakland A’s at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals beat the A’s, 5-4. (Photo by: John Vawter Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

 


Back in 1973, it was called Royals Stadium with no seats in the outfield and a very ground-breaking-for-its-time digital screen in centerfield. Wow, times have changed!

 

 

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A general view of an American Flag being stretched out and help by Military Personnel during the 83rd MLB All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium on July 10, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


Now in 2012, the stadium is called Kauffman Stadium, aptly named after its owner, Ewig Kauffman. At maximum capacity the stadium seats around the same number of fans as it did 39 years ago, but now includes seats in the outfield and a much more modern digital screen in center.

 

The icons

 

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(L to R) Outfielder Willie Mays #24 of the New York Mets talks with firstbaseman Hank Aaron #44 of the Atlanta Braves prior to the start of the MLB All-Star Game on July 24, 1973 at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. JV00340 (Photo by: John Vawter Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)


Here we have two of the biggest legends in baseball history posing together before the game in 1973. This would be Mays’s last All-Star Game, but that would not slow down the “Say Hey Kid” from getting in the action. Aaron would drive in a run supporting the National Leagues lopsided win.

 

 

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National League All-Star Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves acknowledges the crowd as he steps up to bat in the sixth inning of the 83rd MLB All-Star Game against the American League at Kauffman Stadium on July 10, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)


Chipper Jones, at 40 years young, played in his eighth and final All-Star Game on Tuesday, receiving a standing ovation before stepping to bat. He promptly connected with a 95 mph fastball, hitting it to the right side and legging out a single, giving him a night of perfection. “At 40 years old, legging out an infield hit in the All-Star game,” Jones said. “That’s exactly the way I scripted it.”

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