1988 All-Star Game
The unlikeliest of All-Stars, a player with less time than his backup, had the biggest performance of any player there in his All-Star debut. The Oakland A's catcher Terry Steinbach homered and hit a sacrifice fly, lifting the American League to victory. Steinbach led off the third inning with a homer against Dwight Gooden. The liner just eluded Darryl Strawberry, who said the ball popped out of his glove as he tried to pull it back over the fence.
The homer put Steinbach into the annals of baseball trivia: He's the only player to hit a home run in both his first at-bat in the majors and in his first at-bat in an All-Star Game. His next hit was even more crucial. The American League loaded the bases against Bob Knepper on a double by Dave Winfield, a walk to Cal Ripken, Jr. and a short single by Mark McGwire. Steinbach followed with a towering fly to left that came within ten feet of becoming the second grand slam in All-Star history.
Frank Viola set the tempo for American League pitchers by retiring all six batters he faced. The National League managed only five singles off the seven hitters who followed him: Roger Clemens, Mark Gubicza, Dave Stieb, Jeff Russell, Doug Jones, Dan Plesac and Dennis Eckersley.
It was an amazing performance by an individual, but also a great effort by Steinbach's team to ensure another victory. Many fans and the league were pleased as the National and American League traded the last four All-Star victories breaking the monotony of the previous decades of dominance by one side or the other.