Chicago Cubs: Remembering the 1990 All-Star Game at Wrigley Field

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

It’s been 30 years since the Chicago Cubs hosted the MLB All-Star Game.

It’s hard to believe, but the Chicago Cubs have only hosted the MLB All-Star Game three times at Wrigley Field. They first hosted the Midsummer Classic in 1947, when the American League beat the National League, 2-1. They also hosted one of the two All-Star Games (a practice that lasted from 1959 to 1962) in 1962, as the AL again beat the NL, 9-4.

In 1990, Wrigley Field got its third opportunity to display MLB’s best and brightest when it again hosted the All-Star Game. The team was awarded the game as an expression of gratitude for finally installing lights and introducing night baseball in 1988. And like the first night game at Wrigley Field, which was a washout, the game didn’t go exactly as hoped.

Weather was a big factor. It was only 68 degrees at game time, made to feel colder due to rain and wind coming off Lake Michigan. There were a total of 85 minutes worth of rain delays; at one point, CBS aired Rescue 911 during one of the delays.

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During the pregame ceremonies, Wayne Messmer sang “O Canada,” while Richard Marx sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” Ernie Banks threw out the first pitch to Mike Scioscia. Ryne Sandberg, in the middle of another great year in which he was batting .335 with 24 home runs, batted second for the National League. Andre Dawson, batting .324 with 19 home runs, was in the fifth spot. Manager Don Zimmer served as a coach. The start of the game definitely had a Cubs flavor.

However, those Cubs fans who were hoping to see their hometown heroes shine were disappointed. Sandberg, Dawson, and reserve Shawon Dunston combined to go 0-for-7.

The game remained scoreless until the seventh inning when Julio Franco doubled off Rob Dibble to drive in two runs, giving the AL a 2-0 lead that would hold until the end of the game. The “home team” would now be 0-for-3 in All-Star Games at the Friendly Confines. In this game, the NL managed only two hits, the lowest total by a team in the history of this annual game.

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With all the renovations that have taken place at Wrigley Field in recent years, there has been talk of bringing the All-Star Game back to the north side of Chicago. Hopefully, that will happen in the near future. Until then, Wrigley’s last memory of the game is one that could have gone better, from the Cubs’ and the NL’s perspective. Still, it was a memorable night for those who were there to witness it.