Wednesday, July 15, 2015

1983 All Star Game Honorary Captains: Ernie Banks & Joe Cronin

Last night the American League won their 3rd straight All Star Game. In 1983 the AL had won their first ASG after losing 11 straight.  The game was at Comiskey Park in Chicago. It was the 50th anniversary of the original ASG which was part of the Chicago Worlds Fair.  

The National League's honorary captain was Ernie Banks. Although the game was played on the south side, Ernie's name is synonymous with Chicago baseball. He played his entire 19 season career in a Cubs uniform. An All Star 14 times and a back to back NL MVP (1958 & 1959), "Mr. Cub" was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1977.

Joe Cronin was chosen as the AL's honorary captain. Cronin was the starting shortstop for the American League in the first ever All Star game. Back then he was a member of the Washington Senators. He went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. The AL won 4-1. Cronin was runner up for the AL MVP in 1933 finishing behind fellow Hall of Famer, Jimmie Foxx.

In 1933 Cronin was in his first year acting as player/ manager of the Senators. The following year he would manage and play shortstop in the 1934 All Star Game. The Red Sox traded for Cronin after the 1934 season. They gave up their starting shortstop, Lyn Lary and $225,000 (roughly $4 million in today's dollars). Cronin would serve as player manager of the Sox for 11 years and just manager for 2 more. In 1956 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.


About the game: A former Southern Illinois University "Saluki", Dave Stieb was the starting pitcher. He pitched 3 inning of no-hit ball. But he gave up an unearned run on 2 errors to the game's first 2 hitters. Both were grounders to the pitcher. The first was an error on Stieb's throw to first. The second was on first baseman Rod Carew's catch. After spotting the Nationals a one run lead, Stieb was lights-out. He retire 9 of the next ten hitters, striking out 4 and allowing only one baserunner on a walk to Al Oliver

MVP honors went to Fred Lynn of the Angels. Lynn belted a Grand Slam as part of the AL's 7 run 3rd inning. Atlee Hammaker, in his only All Star appearance gave up 3 singles, a triple, an intentional walk and 2 homers including Lynn's slam. The final score was 13-3 with the decisions going to both starting pitchers. Steib got the win and Mario Soto got the loss.

About the cards: In 1982 Topps went back to having separate all star cards rather than incorporating an all star designation on their regular issue cards. I struggled with whether to use regular issue cards or use the All Star cards from that years set. I actually think the 1983 AS cards are decent looking but the regular issue cards are much nicer. And as we move further into the '80s the divide only gets worse. If anybody that reads this far down into the text has an opinion on this subject, please leave a comment. Hopefully, I will still be blogging by the next All Star break and I am really undecided on how to proceed, but we have plenty of time.

About the photos: Normally, I use photo's from the playing days, but Cronin retired from playing and managing in 1947 so I could not find a decent color photo. I did find this picture of him wearing a mid '70 era Red Sox uniform. I'm not sure what the occasion for this was. 

At the '83 All Star Game he was looking good in a vintage Washington Senators uni. It doesn't look exactly authentic for the era (no pinstripes and the '60s era curly "W"), but it was a nice looking throwback uni anyway and I wish I could have found a decent photo of it to use on his card. But since I didn't here is a video I found on Youtube. It is the AL introductions for the All Star game. At the end Banks an Cronin come out. 

Banks is also wearing an inaccurate uniform. He never had his name on the back of a home uniform during his playing days. In fact the Cubs didn't have names on the backs of their home jerseys until 1993. Ten years after Banks appeared in this video with his name on the back of his jersey.


  1. I think going with the All-Ster design would look the best.

  2. Nice cards. I never knew the Cubs had that red line on their away unis. 1960?

    I'm not sure what you're asking in relation to the All Star cards. They're always good. Adding a ASG strip to the reg issue card? Whichever way you go, I'll enjoy 'em.

  3. Not sure that you will see this comment, but wanted to let you know that there is a seller on ebay who has taken the images of many cards that you created (including the 1983 Banks) and is selling them -