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Magic Moment No. 4: The Yankees Take the Field in 1939

The All Star game started in Comiskey Park in 1933, the brainchild of the Chicago Tribune's sports editor. Then it came to the Polo Grounds, to Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, to the Boston Bee's National League Park, to Griffith Stadium and to Crosley Field.

Then in 1939, it came back to New York, this time to the House That Ruth Build.

There were Yankees there.

Back in those days, the World Series manager from the previous year was the All Star Game manager. And the All Star Game manager picked his club. No final votes, no ballots to stuff, no debate over deserving or not.

Yankee manager Joe McCarthy had the helm; in 1938, the Yankees had swept the Chicago Cubs to complete a three-peat, attaching the word "dynasty" to the club for the first time. '38 had been a nail bitter, with the Yankees "only" winning the pennant by 9.5 games (compared with 19.5 in '36, 13.0 in '37, and at the break in '39 the Yankees had a .707 winning percentage and already a 6.5 game lead on the second place Red Sox).

The Yankees were the class of the league, and McCarthy didn't really want anybody else on the diamond. Six Yankees started that game: Red Rolfe hit second and played third base, Joe DiMaggio batted third and played center field, Bill Dickey hit fourth and caught, George Selkirk hit sixth and played left, Joe Gordon batted eighth and manned second base, while Red Ruffing took the hill (and batted 9th).

McCarthy's own Frankie Crosetti, Luke Appling, along with Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, and a slew of other legends were left as bench warmers.

The Tigers' Tommy Bridges followed Ruffing to the mound, and then some rookie named Bob Feller mopped up the final 3 innings.

In the top of the third, Ruffing tired, and with runners on first and second, he allowed an RBI double to NL 2B Lonny Frey. That would be all the National League could muster, and in the bottom of the fourth, Selkirk drilled a single to right, scoring Bill Dickey from third and allowing the great Hank Greenberg to go first to third. Greenberg would later score on an error by the shortstop.

Then, to cap off the day, in the bottom of the 5th, on a 2-1 count, Joe DiMaggio did what he did as well as any right handed hitter in Yankee history: clubbed a home run deep into the left field stands.

The 4 combined runs were the lowest in All-Star Game history to that point, and a 3 run game wouldn't happen for another ten years. It was a quiet day at the Stadium, but it belonged to the Yankees.