1999 ALL-STAR GAME
The 1999 Mid-West Winter League All-Star Game was held on Saturday Night, November 6th, 1999 in the home of the Hollywood Vampires.
“Special recognition is given here to Brandon Hogan & Greg “Sarge” Stauffer for taking on the past All-Star Games Project as they will be playing these out and catching up not only the MWWL but some past MWBL All-Star Games. Thank you very much Brandon & Sarge for helping out with these projects. I hope you enjoy the Mid-West Winter & Mid-West Baseball League as much as we have in the past 25 Years!”
We made it to the final all-star game of the 90s here in the Mid-West Winter League and coming into the matchup the American League has the decade lead 5-4 over the National League and are winners of the last two. 1998 was an absolute classic but what about 1999? The A.L. trotted out Kevin Brown to start the game for the second time in as many years and the N.L. is going to the well AGAIN with Randy Johnson to start. What is the definition of insanity? Some say it is just doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a different result. Well, that seems to be the case for the N.L. The struggles of Randy Johnson have been discussed multiple years in these games. The hope of the coaching staff is that this was finally the year he could break the trend of bad outings.
Jumping right into the game Brown got through the first easily 1-2-3 facing Derek Jeter, Roberto Alomar, and Ken Griffey Jr. Remember when he was the star of these games? Not so much in the back half of the decade. Now it was time for Johnson and right away he found trouble. Nomar Garciaparra fisted one up the middle for a single just out of the reach of Jeter. Ivan Rodriguez followed with a routine double play ball but Alomar bobbled it and could only get the 4-3 moving Nomar to 2nd. Johnson seemed to settle in when Vladimir Guerrero flew out to Steve Finley. This brought up a matchup that the A.L. wanted so badly in the lead-up to the game. They talked about Sammy Sosa and his ability to change the complexion of a game no matter who was on the mound and that his batting clean-up was the best choice even with all the power in the lineup. It paid off and the Johnson woes continued because Sosa went oppo to make it 2-0 in the first. Rattled, Johnson then walked Jeff Bagwell. A mound visit followed and the crowd all expected Johnson to get lifted but he stayed in to face Larry Walker. How many times do you need to touch the hot stove? Walker makes them pay, 4-0 on the 2nd two-run shot of the inning for the A.L. Johnson wins every award yet turns into a pumpkin every single all-star game—a sad story for a great pitcher.
The N.L. goes scoreless again in the 2nd and they then decide to bring Johnson out for another inning of work! WHY? To the surprise of everyone in attendance and the millions watching at home, he gets the A.L. out 1-2-3 with two K’s. Sweet redemption, I guess. The N.L. can’t plate anyone in the 3rd and this brings the A.L. to face Boomer, David Wells. Pudge led off the inning with a long fly out to the warning track but Guerrero came up and tagged one to left. It clears the wall and now it is 5-0 A.L. Disaster again for the N.L. Sosa struck out for the 2nd of the inning. Bagwell walked again and then Larry Walker ripped one down the right field line setting up runners on 1st & 2nd for Dante Bichette. Facing a new pitcher in Shane Reynolds, he got himself a pitch he could slap and got an RBI single, 6-0 and we still have 6 more to play.
In the top of the 4th the N.L. finally got themselves on the board as Chipper Jones mashed a solo shot off Ron Villone to make the game 6-1. It was early to predict a shutout but there was no way these N.L. bats would stay silent. This was backed up in the 5th when the N.L. made it 6-2 on a Roberto Alomar home run off Trevor Hoffman. The game felt like it could be in reach again for the N.L. In the bottom half of the inning, Larry Walker collected his 3rd hit of the game, this time a double off Steve Kline. 3/3 in a game like this is exactly what wins you an MVP. However, no one was on base and he ended up stranded.
The lead inched back to 5 in the bottom of the 6th as Barry Larkin stepped in to hit for Nomar and he buried one in the right field corner to allow Todd Zeile to score from 2nd. 7-2 and we are in the final 3rd of the game. A scoreless 7th and top of the 8th brought up the A.L. for potentially the last time. With 1 out, Dave Nilsson pinch-hit for Ivan Rodriguez and made Keith Foulke pay for a cookie, clearing the wall as Manny Ramirez could not jump high enough to corral the ball. 8-2. This would be the final as in the top of the 9th Pedro Martinez came in to slam the door shut with 1 out. He got Mark McGwire to ground out but then walked Jose Vidro. With the backup catcher in, the N.L. tried to get a rally going by sending Vidro to 2nd on the first pitch but Nilsson gunned him down to end it.
The story coming into the game is the exact story coming out. Randy Johnson just isn’t made for these games. He gave up 4 earned in 2 innings which for his career in 6 appearances put him up to 10 earned runs over 7.2 innings. That is an 11.74 ERA, so I guess having him go out for that 2nd inning this time helped lower it because it was sitting at 13.50 before returning. Maybe the 2000’s will be kinder to him.
The star for the A.L. was Larry Walker, he went 3/3 with a walk and ended up just a triple shy of the cycle with 2 RBI. He earned his first all-star game MVP.
All-TIME RECORD: American League 23 – National League 7
1999 ALL-STAR GAME MVP – Larry Walker – who went 3/3 with a walk and ended up just a triple shy of the cycle with 2 RBI.
He earned his first all-star game MVP.