This is the ninth of 10 installments featuring significant White Sox moments from All-Star games past.
The idea of an All-Star Game originated as early as the 1910s, but it took the World's Fair to get the ball rolling. And the guy who did most of the pushing was Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward.
At the height of the Great Depression, Ward thought a single game featuring the best players from each league would be a great tie-in with the "Century of Progress" extravaganza celebrating Chicago's 100th birthday. More importantly, he thought it could sell out Comiskey Park in a flash.
Instead of taking the case straight to Kenesaw Mountain Landis, whose office was in Chicago, Ward worked the league presidents instead. The American League approved it unanimously, but the National League had three remaining holdouts -- the Boston Braves, New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. Ward gave the clubs a deadline before he would announce the game, and whether it would run, or whether those three clubs put a stop to what would've been a spectacle.
Public pressure won the day, and baseball had its first Midsummer Classic, played at Comiskey Park on July 6, 1933. Ward was right -- the game sold out in two days, giving the game a paid attendance of 47,595. The White Sox were represented by Al Simmons (who went 1-for-4) and Jimmy Dykes (2-for-3), but Babe Ruth stole the show with a two-run homer off Bill Hallahan that gave the American League a 3-0 lead, en route to a 4-2 victory. Given the grandiosity of the event and the circumstances surrounding it, it seems only fitting that baseball's greatest icon would put his stamp on it immediately.
(Information culled from several old Jerome Holtzman columns ... which caused me to find other ones to read. He's still my favorite.)