The Major League Baseball All-Star Game has been a baseball tradition for the past 85 years. Each year it has grown in importance and popularity. In 2003 the All-Star game became not just a showcase of baseball’s best but a battle for home field advantage in the year’s World Series, making it even more competitive and more exciting.
The game was a relatively close one this year with the American League beating out the National League for home field advantage in the 2014 World Series by a score of 5-3. Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout was named the game’s MVP after driving in two runs on two hits and scoring a run for the A.L.
While Trout was named the MVP, there was a bigger story to this 2014 All-star game. That story was that of New York Yankees’ shortstop and team captain, Derek Jeter. Respected around the league as not only one of the best shortstops in the history of the game, Jeter known to most as “Mr. November” or simply “The Captain,” is also considered one of the greatest ambassadors to the game has ever seen. Jeter was playing in the 14th and final All-Star Game of his storied 20-year career. The shortstop announced his retirement from baseball after the 2014 season back in February.
Leading off the game, before ever seeing a pitch, Jeter was greeted by a standing ovation and chants of “De-rek Je-ter” by the everyone in attendance at Minnesota’s Target Field. Even the N.L.’s starting pitcher, Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals, stopped while on the mound, put down his glove and acknowledged the 40-year who, while not still quite as sharp as he was at the age of 21, is truly a living legend.
Last year’s game had a similar feel to it as the baseball world said goodbye to another career Yankee, considered the greatest closer of all time and MLB’s all-time saves leader, Mariano Rivera. Yet this outpouring of love and respect from fans, coaches, managers and players from all leagues and teams seemed even more special, the moment seemed even larger.When the game finally commenced and Jeter strode and took his spot at the plate he got the first of his two hits of the night, a double deep to right off of Wainwright.
The majority of the scoring for both teams came early in the game. The game’s eventual MVP batted second for the American League hitting a long triple to center allowing Jeter to not only have the first hit of the game but also to score the first run of the game, a very fitting scenario considering the sentiment towards him lingering throughout the stadium. The star of the Detroit Tigers, the most recent triple crown winner and back-to-back AL MVP, Miguel Cabrera hit a monster two run shot to make it 3-0 for the A.L.
The bottom of the first passed without incident as the Seattle Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez gave up a single to the N.L.’s lead-off man Andrew McCutchen then went on to retire the next three batters he faced. The top of the second was not as kind to Red Sox’s starter Jon Lester who allowed a hit to Milwaukee Brewers’ third baseman Aramis Ramirez and back to back doubles to the Philadelphia Phillies’ second baseman Chase Utley and Brewers’ catcher Jonathan Lucroy allowing the N.L. make the game 3-2.
The N.L. scored again, tying the game at three all, in the 4th inning off of the final player voted onto the A.L. roster Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale. With pinch runner the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dee Gordon at first as a pinch runner, Lucroy singled which enabled the speedy Gordon to score.
The score didn’t remain tied for very long. The final two runs in the game were scored by the A.L. in the bottom of the fifth inning. With Oakland Athletics’ catcher Derek Norris, who had singled off of the Cardinals’ Pat Neshek, on first, Trout sent him home with an RBI double by Trout. The A.L.’s fifth and final run was scored that same half-inning on a sacrifice fly by Houston Astros’ second baseman Jose Altuve that scored White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who had come in defensively for Jeter in the top of the fifth, from third.
The other innings, though less eventful than the ones described gave most of the rest of the reserve players a chance to get into the game on one of baseball’s biggest stages. The winning pitcher of record went to the reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers, the losing pitcher was the Cardinals’ Neshek and the save went to fittingly, Glen Perkins of the home town Minnesota Twins.
For a list of the N.L. and A.L. starting lineups you can check out be found here on Call to the Pen in an article by Aaron Somers. A list of the full rosters for both leagues can be found on here on CBSSPORTS.com.