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Elias Says ...

7/12/2006 - MLB

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

MLB
Michael Young's two-run triple with two out in the ninth inning turned a loss into a win for the American League. It was only the second time in All-Star Game history that a team won the game in which it was trailing and down to its final out.

Ted Williams' three-run homer off Claude Passeau with two outs in the bottom of the ninth capped a four-run rally and gave the AL a 7-5 win in the 1941 All-Star Game played in Detroit.

• When David Wright (age 23 years, 203 days) smacked a home run in the second inning, he became the seventh-youngest player to homer in an All-Star Game. Johnny Bench (21 years, 229 days) is the youngest player to homer in the midseason classic, connecting in the 1969 game in Washington.

Wright's homer was hit off Kenny Rogers (41). That's the largest gap in age (18 years) between a batter and pitcher in an All-Star Game home run. The previous "record" was set in 1959 in Los Angeles, when Frank Robinson (23) homered off Early Wynn (39).

We know what you heard elsewhere, but Wright was the 14th player, not the 13th, to hit a home run in his first All-Star Game at-bat. David Ortiz, who did it in 2004, was the last to do it.

• Rogers became the second-oldest player to start an All-Star Game at any position. Top five: Roger Clemens (41 years and 344 days in 2004), Rogers (41 years and 243 days), Pete Rose (41 years and 90 days in 1982), Willie Mays (41 years and 80 days in 1972), Ted Williams (40 years and 338 days in 1959).

• The American League did not have an at-bat with a runner in scoring position in the first seven innings of the game. It's only the fourth time in All-Star Game history in which a team failed to have an at-bat with RISP through the first seven innings. The NL did it the three previous times: 1971 (first eight innings), 1972, 1995 (first eight innings).

• With the American League earning homefield advantage in the World Series with its win, it's worth noting that since 1980, eight World Series have gone the distance and the home team won Game 7 in all eight of those series. The last team to win Game 7 on the road was the 1979 Pirates (at Baltimore).

• Ortiz started at first base for the AL despite starting only seven games in the field this season (all at first base; he's started 77 games as a designated hitter). Since 1973, when the DH rule was introduced, the only other AL player to start at a fielding position in the All-Star Game after having started fewer than 15 games in the field during that season was Reggie Jackson, in 1984 at San Francisco. Jackson started the 1984 All-Star Game in right field despite playing exclusively as a designated hitter during the first half of that season.

• Wright and Carlos Beltran scored both runs for the NL, but maybe the "Senior Circuit" needed a couple of Mets pitchers to lead them to victory. The last time the NL won the All-Star Game, 10 years ago, a 6-0 win in which nine pitchers combined on the shutout, three-fifths of the Mets' current starting rotation helped shut down the AL: Tom Glavine (then pitching for the Braves), Pedro Martinez (Expos) and Steve Trachsel (Cubs).

Alex Rodriguez has started four All-Star Games at shortstop and four at third base. He's the third player to start at least four All-Star Games at two positions, joining Rod Carew (seven at first base, eight at second base) and Stan Musial (four at first base, 10 in the outfield).

• Beltran played the entire game to become the first player to play a complete All-Star Game since 1997, when three players did it: Ken Griffey Jr., Brady Anderson and Ray Lankford.

It was once a common occurrence for the best position players to play complete games in All-Star contests; Willie Mays did it 11 times, Stan Musial did it 10 times and Hank Aaron nine times.

• Tuesday's All-Star Game was played in a brisk two hours and thirty three minutes. It was the fastest All-Star Game since 1988. That game, played in Cincinnati, lasted only 2:26.

• We don't normally choose sides. We report, you decide. So let's just agree that the following doesn't prove the American League is now superior to the National League. But it makes it difficult to argue against that position:

* The AL has won nine consecutive All-Star Games and 14 of the last 17 that were played to a decision (after losing 33 of 41 from 1950 to 1987).

* Over the same period during which the AL has swept nine All-Star Games (1997 to present), it has won 32 of 48 World Series games (.667) and six of the nine World Series.

* The AL routed the NL, 154-98, in interleague play this season after posting a 136-116 record in 2005. Prior to that, the NL held a small edge (988-960 over eight seasons). This season, the AL had a winning record even in NL ballparks (68-58).

• Both Ozzie Guillen (1988, 1990-1991) and Phil Garner (1976, 1980-1981) were selected as All Stars three times during their playing career. This is the seventh time that opposing All-Star managers each had previous All-Star experience as players, but it's the first All-Star Game in which both managers were previous three-time All-Stars as players.

The other pairs of opposing All-Star managers who were selected during their playing careers: Joe Cronin and Bill Terry (1934), Frankie Frisch and Mickey Cochrane (1935), Al Lopez and Leo Durocher (1955), Cito Gaston and Jim Fregosi (1994), Joe Torre and Bob Brenly (2002), Dusty Baker and Mike Scioscia (2003).

• Rogers and Ivan Rodriguez are the first teammates to comprise the starting battery in an All-Star Game since Hideo Nomo and Mike Piazza did it as Dodgers in 1995. The last AL teammates to do it were the A's Dave Stewart and Terry Steinbach in 1989.

• Ten players selected to this game were under age 25 (Grady Sizemore, Robinson Cano, David Wright, Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, Jose Reyes, Jose Lopez, Scott Kazmir, Brian McCann and Francisco Liriano).

The last time that many players under age 25 were All-Stars was in 1993, when 13 players were that young (Steve Avery, Carlos Baerga, Rod Beck, Travis Fryman, Juan Gonzalez, Griffey Jr., Pat Hentgen, Darryl Kile, Mike Mussina, John Olerud, Mike Piazza, Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield).