Baseball’s All Star Game is little more than an exhibition.
The Major League Baseball All Star Game started off as a gimmick and remains a gimmick 84 years after the first game was played in Chicago at Comiskey Park. Neither American nor National League owners ever thought about pitting their stars against one another in the previous 30 years that the two leagues claimed major league status and the origin of the midsummer classic seems to have come from a meeting between Chicago Mayor Edward J. Kelly and the Chicago Tribune newspaper editorial staff with Kelly looking for a major sports event to be part of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. Arch Ward, the Sports Editor, proposed the idea of an all-star game which was supposed to be a one-time deal. Baseball always had a close relationship with newspapers as newspapers gave the sport free publicity and fans, through newspapers, were able to vote for the starters. The net revenue from the game went to former players who needed money.
The first almost All-Star Game, which took place in Cleveland in 1911, didn’t even feature the National League. A combined American League team played the Cleveland Naps in a fund raiser. The leagues acted as stand-alone entities and were not unified until the 1990s. Arch Ward has a place in sports history. In 1934, Ward was able to convince National Football League owners to allow the defending champions to play a college football all-star team in a Chicago summer charity event and that annual game lasted until 1976. Ward was also a force behind the All-American Football Conference which started in 1946 and ended in 1949 when the NFL took in three teams. As far as today’s gimmick, Major League Baseball decides the World Series home field advantage by giving the team from the league that wins the game the extra home game. Baseball owners think more people will watch the game because of the gimmick.
The 2017 game is in Miami