Rosen Was An All-Star Hero Decades Before Alomar
By Vince Guerrieri
OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
The Indians host an All-Star Game in the same season they end up going to the World Series. A hometown player tears the cover off the ball in the Midsummer Classic.
The Indians were on their way to a record 111 wins that season, and had five players selected for the All-Star Game, which would be held in Cleveland for the second time. The first was in 1934. Bobby Avila and Al Rosen were in the starting lineup, and Larry Doby was in reserves on the bench. Bob Lemon and Mike Garcia were selected as pitchers, but Garcia ended up getting replaced by Sandy Consuegra of the White Sox.
Whitey Ford started for the American League and Robin Roberts started for the National League. Ford pitched three shutout innings, and Roberts put up goose eggs in the first two frames, giving no indication of the slugfest that would develop.
In the bottom of the third, Roberts gave up a single to Minnie Minoso and a walk to Nellie Fox, but he got Mickey Mantle to strike out and Yogi Berra to ground out. With two outs, Roberts, who held the record for most home runs given up by a pitcher until it was broken by Jamie Moyer, gave up a gopher ball to Al Rosen to put the American League up 3-0. He gave up another home run to Ray Boone before retiring Hank Bauer.
The National League roared back in the top of the fourth, with singles by Duke Snider, Ted Kluszewski and Ray Jablonski, and a double by Jackie Robinson off Consuegra to make it a 4-3 game. Lemon came on in relief and gave up a two-run single to pinch hitter Don Mueller to give the Senior Circuit a 5-4 lead. Chico Carrasquel singled and came around to score in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game, and Kluszewski homered in the fifth to give the National League a 7-5 lead.
But a two-run home run by Rosen tied the game again at 7, and Avila hit an RBI single to give the American League an 8-7 lead, which evaporated in the eighth when Bob Keegan gave up a pinch-hit two-run home run to Gus Bell to make it 9-8.
The Washington Senators’ Dean Stone came on in relief of Keegan, and threw Red Schoendienst out at the plate to record the third out of the inning. Stone was then lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth, Larry Doby, who promptly hit a solo home run to tie the game off Gene Conley. The Brooklyn Dodgers’ Carl Erskine – who most recently played a harmonica version of the national anthem before a Heat-Pacers NBA playoff game – came on to relieve Conley, but gave up a two-run game-winning single to Nellie Fox, as the American League won 11-9.
The American League win broke a four-game losing streak, and Stone got the win for the Junior Circuit without even recording an out.
Sandy Alomar won the All-Star MVP Award for his heroics at the Jake in 1997, but Rosen wasn’t so honored in 1954. The first All-Star MVP Award was eight years away.
Photo: Cleveland Press Archive