clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The 1993 All-Star Game (Camden Chat’s version)

The fans got to cheer on both of their hometown players in a lopsided American League victory.

1993 All-Star Game
Mike Mussina at the 1993 All-Star Game at Camden Yards

Inspired by Taylor Swift re-releasing her own songs as (Taylor’s version), Camden Chat writers will spend the rest of 2023 re-releasing some Orioles game recaps and giving them better endings. Let’s come up with a more pleasant turn of events in the 1993 All-Star Game, the only time the event has been held at Camden Yards.

Like most of the internet, Camden Chat did not exist in 1993. But that year’s All-Star Game events have been written about a few times on this site.

**

What a week it has been in Baltimore. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, in just its second year, looked fantastic. Fans packed the city to attend the All-Star Fan Fest, workout day, and of course the game itself.

First, they were treated to an epic home run derby that saw Juan Gonzalez hitting second-deck blasts to left field while young star Ken Griffey, Jr. amazed the crowd by connecting with the Eutaw Street Warehouse in right. Then came the game itself, a big win for the American League and for Orioles fans rooting on their two All-Stars, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Mike Mussina.

Coverage of the ballpark from the national press revealed that it’s not just Orioles fans who believe that Camden Yards is the crown jewel of baseball. The ballpark was given a lot of great press last year in its inaugural season, but for this writer anyway, the All-Star Game felt like its coming out party.

If any baseball fans didn’t know before, now they are aware of its status as the best ballpark in baseball. Cities can go many years between All-Star Games but it’s hard to imagine that MLB won’t return to this site again and again to showcase the national pastime.

This year’s game, which turned into a resounding feel-good win for the American League, got off to a chilly start for the AL manager, Cito Gaston. Gaston was booed by the Baltimore fans upon his introduction.

The Blue Jays are just generally disliked in Baltimore, but the local fans specifically took issue with the manager stacking the team with Blue Jays while leaving off two deserving Orioles, Chris Hoiles and Gregg Olson. It wasn’t a great look for the Baltimore fans but it also wasn’t a great look for Cito Gaston. But by the end of the game, it would mostly be forgotten.

The AL team fell behind early when starting pitcher Mark Langston of the California Angels gave up a first-inning home run to Gary Sheffield. But the AL bounced back to tie the game with solo shots from Kirby Puckett and Roberto Alomar and never looked back. It was all American League after that.

The AL offense poured on three runs in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth as the biggest stars in the game laid waste to National League pitching. They scored nine runs on 11 hits to make the game a laugher. After Sheffield’s two-run homer in the first, the NL managed just one more run with a sacrifice fly against Yankee Jimmy Key.

The only thing that could have made for a better offensive day would have been if the man getting the largest ovation at the plate, Cal Ripken, could have connected. Ripken, playing in his 11th consecutive midsummer classic, went 0-for-3 at the plate. Ripken has had his share of All-Star success and will surely have more to come, but it would have been nice for the hometown fans to get a treat.

Speaking of the hometown fans, by mid-game they were starting to get antsy waiting to see young pitching star Mike Mussina get into the game. After Langston pitched two innings to start the game, Gaston turned to Seattle’s Randy Johnson for two more. The fifth inning went to veteran White Sock Jack McDowell, then Gaston gave the sixth inning to his former player and current Yankee Jimmy Key.

In the stands, it seemed like things were starting to get dire. Time was running out. But what fans didn’t know until after the game was that Gaston had planned to use Mike Mussina in the last inning all along.

Before the game started, Gaston held a meeting with his pitchers to plan out the schedule. He told his young players Pat Hentgen and Duane Ward that he was holding them back in case the game went extra innings. As for Mussina, the ninth inning would be his.

When asked about it after the game, Mussina told reporters: “It was classy of Cito to let us all know where we stood before the game started. He told me that if all went well, I’d be able to close out a win on my home pitching mound with my own team’s fans going wild in the stands. And that’s just what happened.”

After watching Gaston go to Jeff Montgomery in the seventh inning and Rich Aguilera in the eighth, a buzz worked its way through the crowd. Where was Mike? Then, in the bottom of the eighth inning, he finally began throwing in the bullpen. The camera broadcast the sight to the jumbotron and the crowd went wild.

He entered the game in the top of the ninth with a slow jog as though he was a seasoned closer. The crowd loved it, chanting, “We like Mike! We like Mike!”

Mussina struck out the first batter he faced, Gregg Jefferies, then induced a groundout from Tony Gwynn. It’s ok, nobody strikes that guy out. The final batter of the game was the power-hitting rookie Mike Piazza. Mussina made short work of him, punching him out on three pitches. The Baltimore fans loved it, just as Gaston had predicted.

The AL defeated the NL 9-3 in the exhibition and as the fans filed out of the ballpark after the exciting win, a few were overheard saying, “Maybe Cito doesn’t suck after all.”