Fifty years ago, the greatest All-Star Game ever played took place in Detroit.
The 1971 All-Star Game featured 20 future Hall of Fame players, including Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson and Roberto Clemente. Both managers, Sparky Anderson and Earl Weaver, would be enshrined in Cooperstown as well.
Aaron, Clemente, Jackson, Johnny Bench, Frank Robinson and Harmon Killebrew all homered in the game, with Jackson’s legendary shot to right field banking off a light tower on the roof of Tiger Stadium. Juan Marichal pitched two scoreless innings. So did Jim Palmer. The field was so loaded with stars that Pete Rose didn’t even get an at-bat. Tom Seaver and Steve Carlton never got a chance to take the mound.
It is not fair to put such expectations on 2021 class of all-stars. There have been many other All-Star Games featuring otherworldly collections of talent, but none has matched 20 future Hall of Famers.
At the same time, it’s not hard to imagine 50 years from now, in the year 2071, looking back at the collection of young talent that came together at Coors Field in 2021 and holding it in similar reverence.
Baseball is in a golden age for young talent, and it all came together on the same field for the first time in Denver. It was the first All-Star Game for Fernando Tatis Jr., Shohei Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Juan Soto. Same for Rafael Devers, Bo Bichette, Trea Turner, Matt Olson and Corbin Burnes. All are in their early to mid-20s.
And that’s to say nothing of the more veteran all-stars on the field: Kris Bryant, Aaron Judge, Xander Bogaerts, Jose Ramirez, Manny Machado and Ozzie Albies—all yet to turn 30.
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