There was a time when baseball players didn’t have to be extrinsically motivated to try to win the all-star game. The incentive was to win for the pride of the league without hurting your team.

Tom Seaver started the 1970 All-Star game. Two events occurred then that could never occur today.

New York’s most beloved team, at least after the Brooklyn Dodgers ceased to exist, was playing the Montreal Expos, a team that no longer exists, at Shea Stadium, a ballpark that no longer exists.

It was Sunday, July 12. The All-Star game would be played on Tuesday.

The score was 3-3 in the ninth inning when Montreal rallied for two runs off Mets starter Ray Sadecki after Sadecki had retired the first two batters.

With Rusty Staub on first, manager Gil Hodges had enough. He brought in Tom Seaver to end the inning, which he did.

The Mets were down by two runs, but Hodges had enough confidence in his challenged offense or sufficient disrespect for the Expos’ pitching that he was willing to use his ace to maintain a two-run deficit.

Two days later, on Tuesday, July 14 at River Front Stadium in Cincinnati, Gil Hodges, the National League all-star manager, gave the baseball to Tom Seaver.

The greatest pitcher in the history of New York baseball pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit, no walks, and striking out four batters. Guess the relief appearance on Sunday didn’t affect Seaver.

The game was still scoreless when Gaylord Perry took the mound for the National League in the sixth inning.

Perry had started for the San Francisco Giants the Sunday before the all-star game. The Houston Astros had blasted Perry for five runs and 11 hits in his five innings of work.

Perry worked two innings and was touched up for two runs and four hits.

With the game tied 4-4 after nine innings, Hodges brought in Dodgers’ lefty Claude Osteen, who had pitched eight innings on the Saturday before the All-Star game, which meant that Osteen came in on two days’ rest.

Osteen was 5’11” and weighed a “hefty” 160 pounds.

Neither team scored until the bottom of the 12th inning, when Jim Hickman singled to left, driving in Pete Rose from second base and ruining Ray Fosse’s promising career.

Osteen worked three innings to get the win. Not exactly the “Joba rules.”

American League manager Earl Weaver’s use of pitchers was no different from that of Hodges.

In the fourth inning, “Sudden” Sam McDowell, who had pitched a complete game on Saturday, came in for Jim Palmer. Sam worked three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and three walks.

It gets better.

Jim “Catfish” Hunter, who pitched eight innings on Sunday, started the ninth inning for the Junior Circuit. Clarence “Cito” Gaston was the only batter Hunter retired as the National League rallied for three runs to tie the game.

The losing pitcher was Jaret Wright’s daddy, Clyde, who had started on Saturday against the Minnesota Twins.

Yes, there was a time when the rule that limited pitchers to a maximum of three innings was necessary.

Yes, there was a time when managers didn’t have to worry if using a pitcher who was an All-Star would negatively affect his league’s chances of winning.

Yes, there was a time when real baseball games were played and pitchers did what they do best.

They pitched.


1970 All Star Game at Retrosheet

Read more MLB news on