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Revisiting the 2003 MLB All-Star Game

by Nico Andrade

The last time that the White Sox hosted the MLB All-Star Game was 19 years ago back in 2003. In that matchup, the AL took down the NL 7-6 behind 47,609 fans at then-U.S. Celluar Field.

With the 92nd All-Star Game taking place tonight, it’s the perfect time to go back to 2003 and recall a memorable Mid-Summer Classic.


Setting the Stage

The 2003 All-Star Game was memorable because it was the first game with true ramifications. After the 2002 All-Star Game ended in a tie because both teams were running low on pitchers, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig decided that, in an effort to have the managers treat the game more like a real game, the league that won the ASG would receive home-field advantage for the World Series. This is a tradition that would continue until 2017, which would be the year that the rule was changed to mirror the pre-2003 ASG rules.


The All-Stars

In 2003, some notable names took the field for the 74th Mid-Summer Classic, including Barry Bonds, Ichiro Suzuki, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, and Jorge Posada. The two managers for the game that year were Cubs Manager Dusty Baker for the National League and Angels Manager Mike Scioscia for the American League. Tony La Russa was also present on the NL coaching staff as the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. The starting pitchers were Esteban Loaiza of the White Sox and Jason Schmidt of the Giants.

Here were the starting lineups that day, as well as the reserves in both leagues:

American League Starting Lineup:

  1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF, Mariners
  2. Alfonso Soriano, 2B, Yankees
  3. Carlos Delgado, 1B, Blue Jays
  4. Alex Rodriguez, SS, Rangers
  5. Garret Anderson, LF, Angels**
  6. Edgar Martinez, DH, Mariners
  7. Hideki Matsui, CF, Yankees
  8. Troy Glaus, 3B, Angels
  9. Jorge Posada, C, Yankees

American League Reserves:

  1. Ramon Hernandez, C, Athletics
  2. Jason Varitek, C, Red Sox
  3. Jason Giambi, 1B, Yankees
  4. Mike Sweeney, 1B, Royals
  5. Bret Boone, 2B, Mariners
  6. Hank Blalock, 3B, Rangers
  7. Nomar Garciaparra, SS, Red Sox
  8. Melvin Mora, OF, Orioles
  9. Magglio Ordonez, OF, White Sox
  10. Manny Ramirez, OF, Red Sox
  11. Vernon Wells, OF, Blue Jays
  12. Carl Everett, DH, White Sox
  13. Dmitri Young, DH, Tigers

American League Pitchers:

  1. Lance Carter, Devil Rays
  2. Roger Clemens, Yankees
  3. Brendan Donnelly, Angels
  4. Keith Foulke, Athletics
  5. Eddie Guardado, Twins
  6. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
  7. Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Mariners
  8. Mike MacDougal, Royals
  9. Jamie Moyer, Mariners
  10. Mark Mulder, Athletics
  11. CC Sabathia, Indians
  12. Barry Zito, Athletics

National League Starting Lineup:

  1. Edgar Renteria, SS, Cardinals
  2. Jim Edmonds, CF, Cardinals
  3. Albert Pujols, LF, Cardinals
  4. Barry Bonds, DH, Giants
  5. Gary Sheffield, RF, Braves
  6. Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies
  7. Scott Rolen, 3B, Cardinals
  8. Javy Lopez, C, Braves
  9. Jose Vidro, 2B, Expos

National League Reserves:

  1. Paul Lo Duca, C, Dodgers
  2. Richie Sexson, 1B, Brewers
  3. Luis Castillo, 2B, Marlins
  4. Marcus Giles, 2B, Braves
  5. Aaron Boone, 3B, Reds
  6. Mike Lowell, 3B, Marlins
  7. Rafael Furcal, SS, Braves
  8. Luis Gonzalez, OF, Diamondbacks
  9. Geoff Jenkins, OF, Brewers
  10. Andruw Jones, OF, Braves
  11. Rondell White, OF, Padres
  12. Preston Wilson, OF, Rockies

National League Pitchers:

  1. Armando Benitez, Mets
  2. Kevin Brown, Dodgers
  3. Shawn Chacon, Rockies
  4. Eric Gagne, Dodgers
  5. Russ Ortiz, Braves
  6. Mark Prior, Cubs
  7. John Smoltz, Braves
  8. Billy Wagner, Astros
  9. Mike Williams, Padres
  10. Woody Williams, Cardinals
  11. Dontrelle Willis, Marlins
  12. Randy Wolf, Phillies
  13. Kerry Wood, Cubs

**Manny Ramirez was supposed to start the All-Star Game, but could not due to injury.


Game Result

The 2003 All-Star Game turned out to be a memorable contest with the AL topping the NL 7-6 in front of 47,609 fans at U.S. Cellular Field. The game is best remembered for Hank Blalock’s dramatic home run off the seemingly invincible Eric Gagne.

Starters Esteban Loaiza and Jason Schmidt were sharp early on, each throwing a scoreless couple of innings to start the game. In the third, Roger Clemens relieved Loaiza and threw a scoreless inning himself. Randy Wolf could not do the same, allowing Carlos Delgado to single home Ichiro Suzuki with the game’s first run, and a 1–0 lead for the AL. Ichiro would reach base via a walk.

The National League would respond in a big way in the fifth inning, when Rockies 1B Todd Helton hit a two-run blast to right field to give the National League a 2-1 lead. The NL would score three more runs that innings, courtesy of an RBI double by Andruw Jones and an RBI single by “The Machine” Albert Pujols.

In the sixth inning, 2003 Home Run Derby Champiosn Garret Anderson would hit a two-run homer to bring the AL back in striking distance at 5-3. After Andruw Jones homered in the seventh to get one of those runs back, Jason Giambi would get the run right back with a home run of his own off of Billy Wagner to make it 6-4 NL heading into the eighth inning.

The eighth inning would see the dramatic comeback from the American League off of Eric Gagne, who did not blow any saves during the 2003 season. After a double by Garret Anderson and an RBI single by Vernon Wells, pinch hitter Hank Blalock stepped up to the plate. Blalock found himself in a 2-1 count, and on the next pitch, he sent the ball into the Chicago night. His dramatic pinch-hit two-run homer would give the American League a 7-6 lead.

Keith Foulke came in the ninth to try to earn the save. Foulke closed the door and set the side down 1-2-3. The American League would have the home-field advantage in that season’s World Series, and Garret Anderson took home hardware for the second consecutive night. He was named the All-Star Game MVP a day after winning the Home Run Derby.


Notable Performances

Garret Anderson: 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI

As mentioned, it was the weekend for Angels outfielder Garret Anderson. He took home the Home Run Derby hardware, and took home the All-Star Game MVP a night later.

Hank Blalock: 1-for-1, HR

What a huge swing for the second year player Hank Blalock. Facing the great Eric Gagne he found himself ahead in the count and had the swing that powered the A.L. to victory.


The Next Matchup

While we don’t know the next time the All-Star Game will come to the South Side, we do know it takes place starting at 7 PM CT in Los Angeles tonight! Tim Anderson will bat 7th for the American League, and Shane McClanahan and Clayton Kershaw will be your starters. Ironically, Dusty Baker will also be a manager in this game – this time for the American League.

You can view the game on FOX throughout the night!


Follow us @SoxOn35th for more updates throughout the season!

Featured Image: Bob Horsch


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