The ticket above isn't just some image I pulled off an eBay auction page -- it is my own personal ticket from the 1975 All-Star Game played on July 15, 1975 at County Stadium in Milwaukee, the first of six I have attended (1975, 1983, 1984, 1990, 1991 and 2003).
Check out the price on the ticket, too. A comparable seat for tonight's game at Chase Field in Phoenix would be $210 (before fees).
The '75 All-Star game, from a Cubs standpoint, was played under similar conditions to this year's. The 1975 Cubs weren't a very good team, although they did get off to a 20-10 start. By the All-Star break they were 42-49 and falling. Bill Madlock, then in his second full major league season and just 24 years old, was the Cubs' only All-Star; he was hitting .353/.392/.472 at the break with three home runs. He'd eventually win the first of his two consecutive batting titles with the Cubs that year. We can only hope Starlin Castro, the Cubs' only All-Star this year, can accomplish things like that, and more, in his future.
Madlock was one of only two true third basemen on the 1975 NL roster -- inexplicably, Mike Schmidt was left off the team that year. The Dodgers' Ron Cey, a future Cub, was the starter.
Remember when you're reading this that the Brewers were an American League team in 1975 -- thus, the NL batted first, and the AL last.
Madlock came into the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, batting ninth and replacing Don Sutton in the lineup. Tom Seaver, Sutton's pitching replacement, proceeded to give up a three-run homer to Carl Yastrzemski, tying the game. Batting for the first time in the top of the seventh Madlock hit a fly ball to center field and the game would stay tied until the top of the ninth.
Reggie Smith singled and Al Oliver doubled for the NL, putting runners on second and third, and Larry Bowa was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Madlock, who singled in two runs. Pete Rose followed with a sacrifice fly, making it 6-3, and Randy Jones put down the AL 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, winning the game for the National League.
That made the only mystery the choice of MVP. Jimmy Wynn and Steve Garvey had homered early for the NL, and Yaz hit the three-run shot to tie it, but for the losing team. That made Madlock a favorite -- but the MVP voters split the ballot between him and Mets pitcher Jon Matlack, who had thrown two scoreless innings, striking out four, and who became the winning pitcher on Madlock's hit.
I dunno. Maybe the voters got confused with the names -- "MADLOCK" and "MATLACK" sound similar. To me, and maybe this is just the Cubs fan in me, Madlock deserved the honor by himself. He is still the only Cub to be named an All-Star MVP.
The other thing I remember well about that game was as fans were filing out, a crowd began to gather in the stands behind the plate, with clearly something interesting going on. It was too difficult to get through the mob, but then I saw a cowboy hat and green blazer -- Athletics owner Charlie Finley holding court. Say what you will about Finley and what he did to his team and baseball in his tenure as an owner, but he always drew a crowd.
This is the last in my series of Cubs All-Star history. Hope you enjoyed it -- and let's hope Starlin Castro makes some history tonight. There will be a game thread (one thread) posted for tonight's game at 5 p.m. CDT.