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Splendid Splinter homers to win All-Star Game

On this day in 1941, with his team trailing 5-4 with two outs in the ninth inning, Ted Williams hits a three-run home run to lead the American League to a 7-5 victory in the All-Star Game at Briggs Stadium in Detroit.

The summer of 1941 provided two of the biggest storylines in the history of baseball: In New York City, Joe DiMaggio was assembling a hitting streak that is considered by many to be unbreakable. In Boston, Ted Williams was on his way to hitting .400 for the season. He was the first player to do so since 1925, and the only player since.

By July 8, 1941, DiMaggio, the American League batting champ in 1939 and 1940 and sterling center fielder for the New York Yankees, was through game 48 of his eventual 56-game hitting streak. Ted Williams, the third-year Red Sox outfielder who had led the American League in runs in 1940, was hitting .405.

The early star of the 1941 All-Star Game, though, was Cleveland Indians pitcher “Bullet” Bob Feller, a six-year veteran at 22 years old, who faced the minimum nine batters in his allotted three innings to cement his status as the premier pitcher in the game. Another notable performance was turned in by Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Arky Vaughn, who hit a two-run homer to the upper deck in the seventh inning to give the National League a 3-2 lead. Vaughn followed that with another two-run shot in the eighth.

The American League trailed 5-3 entering the bottom of the ninth inning. With one out and the bases loaded and Chicago Cub Claude Passeau on the mound, Joe DiMaggio came to the plate. DiMaggio hit a hard line-drive to Boston Braves shortstop Eddie Miller, who flipped the ball to Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman Billy Herman. Though it looked to be a tailor-made double play, Herman threw wide to first, allowing the American League to score a run and bring another man to the plate. Ted Williams promptly hit a three-run home run to win the game for the American League, 7-5.

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