This day in baseball history: NL wins marathon pitching duel

On July 11, 1967, the National League won the all-star game by a score of 2-1. The game, played in Anaheim, California, lasted 15 innings, tied for the most in all-star game history (the 2008 game also went 15 innings). The duration was 3:41.

Nowadays, it often takes that long to play nine innings. The 2008 all-star game, a 4-3 affair, took 4:50.

The National League used seven pitchers in the 1967 game. Five of them are now in the Hall of Fame and all seven were studs. They were: Juan Marichal, Ferguson Jenkins, Bob Gibson, Chris Short, Mike Cuellar, Don Drysdale, and Tom Seaver.

Collectively, they allowed just one run on eight hits in 15 innings. The run came on a homer by Brooks Robinson in the sixth inning off of Jenkins. The big Canadian pitched three innings and struck out six, tying the all-star game record.

The AL’s pitchers — Dean Chance, Jim McGlothin, Gary Peters, Al Downing, and Catfish Hunter — were considerably less impressive on paper. Yet they held an imposing NL lineup — which at the start included Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda, Lou Brock, Richie Allen, and Joe Torre, and later included Willie Mays, Pete Rose, and Tony Perez — to two runs and nine hits over 15 innings. The stars named above went a combined 4-33.

The NL took the lead in the second inning, when Allen hit a solo home run off of Chance. The AL tied it with Brooks’ homer off of Jenkins in the sixth.

After that, it was scoreless baseball for eight innings. Finally, in the top of the 15th, Tony Perez homered off of Catfish Hunter with one out. Hunter was in his fifth inning of work.

Nowadays, he wouldn’t have been forced or allowed to work that much. Other available American League pitchers included Joel Horlen, Jim Lonborg (the eventual Cy Young winner that year), and Steve Hargan.

In the bottom of the 15th, Tom Seaver came on to try to save the win for Don Drysdale and the NL. The rookie star retired Tony Conigliaro on a fly ball, but walked Carl Yastrzemski.

Bill Freehan flied out. That left it up to pinch-hitter Ken Berry. Seaver struck him out.

This was the 30th strike out of the game, an all-star game record that stood until 2008. The NL staff recorded 17 of the Ks, with Jenkins leading the way.

Roberto Clemente, not known for striking out (though he often did during this phase of his career), fanned four times. Richie Allen, Gene Alley, and Tony Oliva (who was genuinely tough to fan) each struck out three times.

After the game, NL manager Walter Alston said this was “possibly the best pitching in any All-Star Game I’ve seen.” Alston had seen quite a few. This was eighth he had managed.

However, the pitchers were probably assisted by the 4:15 p.m. start time. That, at least, was Clemente’s explanation for striking out four times. He said: “Those late afternoon and early twilight shadows made breaking pitches especially tough to follow. No wonder everybody was swinging at the wind.”

The game started at 4:15 Pacific Time to accommodate the East Coast television audience. It worked. A record 55 million people tuned in.

You can watch the three home runs, all hit by third basemen, below.

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