Everyone expected the 1984 All-Star Game in San Francisco to be unusual. Where else but in Candlestick Park could a pitcher have been blown off the mound, as the Giants' Stu Miller was in the 1961 game? And where else but in San Francisco could a newspaper ad for a live sex show carry the tag WELCOME ALL-STARS?
Well, it was an unusual game, but not because of the winds or the local mores. Despite game-time breezes of more than 25 mph, only one significant play—a windblown double by Baltimore's Eddie Murray—was affected by the weather. A more decisive factor was the starting time of 5:40 p.m., set to indulge TV and its Eastern viewers. "It wasn't dark and it wasn't light—somewhere in between," said the Royals' George Brett. In part because of the poor visibility, there was an All-Star-record 21 strikeouts. And in midgame, when players said the lighting conditions were at their worst. National League pitchers Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden, at 19 the youngest All-Star ever, collectively broke Carl Hubbell's All-Star mark of five straight Ks (see Ball Park Figures, page 61). Said the Tigers' Chet Lemon, one of Gooden's victims, "He's in a class by himself. There's not much you're going to do when a guy throws a 2-2 pitch 95 miles an hour on the outside corner." Added Padre reliever Goose Gossage, "He's probably the best young player I've seen in 19 years."
Equally unexpected was a nifty play by San Diego first baseman Steve Garvey. With runners on first and third and no outs in the American League half of the third, the Angels' Rod Carew grounded to first. Garvey stepped on the bag and threw to Expo catcher Gary Carter, who tagged out base runner Andre Thornton of the Indians. The "book" play either was to throw home immediately or give up the run and throw to second for a 3-6-3 DP. Baseball's best first baseman, the Mets' Keith Hernandez, admired Garvey's unorthodox choice. "He made the right play for a righthander—his left foot was facing the plate after he touched first," Hernandez said. There was certainly no debating the results.
Thanks to Garvey's play, the American League failed to score in the inning—Garvey had also been in on the inning-ending pickoff of Lemon, which held the American League to one run in the second—and the Nationals won the game 3-1 on homers by Most Valuable Player Carter and Dale Murphy of the Braves.