As a Cubs fan, I have several vivid memories of watching the All-Star Game, all of them back when I was much younger, pre-free agency and pre-interleague play, and the game seemed so much more interesting.

One of those moments occurred in 1970, when Pete Rose famously crushed Ray Fosse at home plate to score the winning run in the Nationals' 5-4, 12-inning victory over the Americans; a play only made possible by the line single to centerfield off the bat of the Cubs' Jim Hickman.

Another memory is from 1975, when I saw Bill Madlock rap a two-run, ninth-inning single against White Sox reliever Rich Gossage, scoring the lead runs in an eventual 6-3 NL win and securing co-MVP honors in the game for Madlock.

My third favorite All-Star Game memory comes from 1976, when Steve Swisher, who was a truly terrible catcher for the Cubs between 1974 and 1977, was selected as the lone Cub representative on the NL squad, though he never appeared in the game.

I don't know why this last recollection is so vivid—maybe it is the sheer, hysterical incongruity of Swisher stepping out for the pre-game introduction alongside the likes of Johnny Bench, Mike Schmidt, Fred Lynn, Rod Carew, Rollie Fingers, and Catfish Hunter.

I'll bet Steve Swisher thinks of 1976 every year at All-Star time, and probably not because of the incongruity.


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