Since it’s the day of the All-Star Game, and the San Diego Padres have very little to be excited about other than the late roster addition of Huston Street, we at Friars On Base wanted to spend the day celebrating the history of the Midsummer Classic, and the various times the Padres’ franchise has played host to the greatest All-Star extravaganza in professional sports. While Tyson Ross was selected and won’t pitch in tonight’s game, and Street will most likely be wearing a different uniform by the end of the month, we can still review All-Star Games gone by, and much like the 1978 version, we are now going to review the last time San Diego played host to the All-Star Game, that year being 1992.
There were some interesting similarities between the previous version of the All-Star Game hosted in 1978, and it’s 1992 counterpart. Both games had a distinct San Diego flavor to it, as the Padres in ’92, were LOADED on offense, and had some phenomenal players representing the hometown team, much like 1978. Back in ’78, the Friars had Rollie Fingers and Dave Winfield donning the hometown brown and gold, and the game’s primary opponents were two future Padres in Steve Garvey (game MVP) and Rich Gossage (losing pitcher).
In 1992, the National League starting lineup featured three starters in Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, former Rookie of the Year Benito Santiago, and perennial home run threat Fred McGriff. Along with those three, Gary Sheffield and Tony Fernandez were reserves. If that wasn’t enough, former Padres’ John Kruk, the Alomar Brothers-Robbie and Sandy Jr., infielder Bip Roberts, Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith, and outfielder Joe Carter all had ties to the Padres’ as former Friars. Future Padres’ included pitchers Kevin Brown and Hall of Fame inductee Greg Maddux, along with second baseman Carlos Baerga were also 1992 All-Stars.
As for the game itself, the National League’s stranglehold on the Midsummer Classic had come to an end a few years prior. 1992 would be no different. Instead of pitting the best hitters of the Junior Circuit against the elite pitching of the Senior Circuit, it was a batting practice session for the American Leaguers.
Before the NL knew what hit them, the AL had hit SEVEN consecutive singles en route to an early 4-0 lead against Hall of Fame inductee Tom Glavine. Before the fifth inning had concluded, Glavine, Bob Tewksberry, and Doug Jones had been slapped around like rookie league minor leaguers, and the AL had gone up 6-0. Led by game MVP Ken Griffey, Jr., who went 3-for-3, the AL had a comfortable 10-0 lead before the National League got on the board.
Just over 59,300 patrons watched an absolute massacre of the hometown All-Stars, and first pitch participant, native San Diegan, and former minor league Padres’ outfielder Ted Williams must have been proud at the amount of hitting his American Leaguers displayed. The National League added five runs in the final two innings, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the AL handed the NL another All-Star Game loss, by the score of 13-6.
Padres’ performances in the game included Tony Fernandez finishing 1-for-2 with a run scored, Tony Gwynn in a rarity, was held hitless in a pair of at-bats, the Crime Dog, Fred McGriff had a nice night, going 2-for-3, with an RBI, while Benito Santiago and Gary Sheffield joined Gwynn, going hitless on the evening. The game took just under three hours, coming in at 2 hours and 55 minutes–relatively short in time for the amount of offense displayed in the contest.
Future Padres’ ace Kevin Brown recorded the win for the American League, and became the Texas Rangers first All-Star Game-winning pitcher since the team relocated from Washington, D.C. Twenty-two years later, this All-Star contest remains the last time that San Diego and the Padres played host to the Midsummer Classic.