Detroit Tiger All Stars, Now & Then

Charlie Gheringer

In 2011, the Detroit Tigers are rolling into the All Star break leading the AL Central. Their sizzling play is reflected in the lineup for tomorrow night’s All Star Game with 5 All Stars. In addition to the starting catcher Alex Avila, the Bengals are also sending pitcher Justin Verlander, first baseman Miguel Cabrera, pitcher Jose Valverde and newly acquired shortstop Jhonny Peralta. That’s one short of the most All-Stars they’ve had (in 1984 and 1985).

You can check out the complete list of Detroit Tiger All-Stars from MLB.com. It dates back to the first All Star game in 1933. Tigers’ Hall of Fame second basemen Charlie Gheringer played played every inning of the first six All-Star Games as the starting second baseman for the American League, and played a pivotal role in the very first All Star game:

The novel idea of a single game made up of the most exciting assemblage of ball-playing talent ever brought together on the diamond at one time, seemed too good to be true. In 1933 and 1934, All-Star teams were selected by the managers and the fans. The National League’s manager John McGraw and American League’s Connie Mack were chosen to lead a line-up of big hitters including Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and the one and only Babe Ruth. “We wanted to see the Babe,” said Bill Hallahan, the National League starter. “Sure, he was old and had a big waistline, but that didn’t make any difference. We were on the same field as Babe Ruth.”

With fellow All-Star, Charlie Gehringer on first in the bottom of the third, The Babe drove one into the right-field stands, the first homer in All-Star history. The crowd, according to one account, “roared in acclamation” and the first All-Star Game, won by the American League on the strength of Ruth’s homer, was a resounding success.

I’m not sure who took this photo, but I found it through Brian DeWagner’s blog where he posted it with What’s in a Name?.

Charles Leonard Gehringer was born in Fowlerville, Michigan. Nicknamed “The Mechanical Man” for his astonishing consistancy, he batted over .300 13 times  and was one of the greatest 2nd basemen ever to play the game. Learn more about his career at the Baseball Hall of Fame and via Wikipedia!

Update! Just found a great account of Charlie Gehringer’s 1934 All-Star game at Bless You Boys – check it out!

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