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1934 All-Star Game: Al Simmons is very valuable

Al Simmons
Al Simmons

This is the fourth of 10 installments featuring significant White Sox moments from All-Star games past.

In the 77-year history of the All-Star Game, a White Sox has never been named the game's MVP. Part of the reason is that the award itself didn't exist until 1962 (the final year baseball had two All-Star games, as you know).

If we went back through all the games and awarded MVPs retroactively ... well, the Sox probably still would go home empty-handed, if only because most of their best performances were in defeat. In most victorious years, though, Al Simmons' performance in the 1934 All-Star Game would probably be worthy of recognition.

You might remember Simmons' name from the Gary Peters post -- Bucketfoot Al was one of five Hall of Famers Carl Hubbell fanned in order to set a record for consecutive strikeouts, in front of his home crowd at the Polo Grounds. Fortunately for Simmons and the rest of the American League team, Hubbell accomplished that feat in the second inning. It was all National League early, but the AL stormed back. Simmons was at the center of it all.

After Ducky Medwick extended the National League's lead to 4-0 in the third, Simmons finally got the offense in motion with a one-out double off Lon Warneke. He scored on Joe Cronin's single to put the AL on the board.

One inning later, Simmons delivered a one-out single off the legendary Van Lingle Mungo to the equally legendary Lou Gehrig, knotting the score at 4. Three batters later, Simmons scored on Earl Averill's double to make it a 6-4 game. The AL ended up scoring six fourth-inning runs to make it an 8-4 game, and when the NL rebounded with three of their own to make it a one-run ballgame, Simmons pushed them away by hitting a one-out double, and scoring on Cronin's double.

All in all, Simmons went 3-for-5 with two doubles, one RBI and three runs scored, and played a key part in every big inning by the American League. But he would probably finish runner-up to Cleveland's Mel Harder, who pitched the final five innings without allowing a run after both Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing were shelled.