Blast From the Past: The 1973 All-Star Game


Before it was Kauffman Stadium, you likely remember it as Royals Stadium.

The huge-scoreboard, multi-fountained stadium opened in 1973 and also hosted the All-Star Game. The new stadium and its baseball event inspired the fans to vote Amos Otis as a starter (and third leading AL vote-getter) and John Mayberry landed in the starting lineup after Dick Allen was injured. Cookie Rojas also made it into the game.

Otis had 20 homers by the All-Star Break that year and 111 hits overall. Mayberry had 20 as well but had also reached base 180 times with 97 hits and 83 walks by July 24th. Rojas was in his third consecutive All-Star Game and fourth of five in his career.

Other stars included Hall of Famers Brooks RobinsonBilly Williams, Johnny Bench, Willie Stargell, Tom Seaver, Don Sutton, Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Bert Blyleven, Nolan Ryan, Rollie Fingers, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays (in his final All-Star Game). Ron Santo was in the game and will be inducted in 2012.

Others included Joe Torre, Thurman Munson, Ted Simmons, Bobby Bonds, Davey Johnson and some guy named Pete Rose.

Non-players Sparky Anderson, Dick Williams, Whitey Herzog, and Nestor Chylak were involved in the game as well, all of whom are now in the Hall of Fame.

Bobby Bonds hit a two run homer in the fifth inning and was named the game’s MVP but the big blast came off the bat of Johnny Bench, who drove a ball to deep left estimated at 480 feet and considered the longest homer in Royals/Kauffman Stadium history.

Those Royals All-Stars finished with respectable numbers – though Rojas was showing signs of aging. Mayberry and Otis were well on their way to becoming Royals Hall of Famers.

Royals 1973 All-Stars, rest of season:

1BJohn Mayberry*2415263887142202261003012279.278.417.478.895146244
2BCookie Rojas34139595781522936691843738.276.320.372.69290205
CFAmos Otis261486518917521426931396347.300.368.484.851133282

Video has been posted online of a feature about the game:

Check out the threads on Ewing Kauffman.

The NL won 7-1 and it wasn’t really much of a contest after the middle innings. Rick Wise, the NL starter, got the win while Blyleven took the loss.