Appel: This year in baseball, 1961

From SABR member Marty Appel at The National Pastime Museum on April 6, 2016:

In the 1961 All-Star Game (actually, two All-Star Games were played), the National League roster included Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn, Orlando Cepeda, Don Drysdale, and Eddie Mathews—11 future Hall of Famers on the 28-man roster.

They won the first game (the one where Stu Miller was blown off the mound at Candlestick Park) and tied the second one at Fenway Park (where no one called for revising the format so that the winning league would open the World Series).

Make no mistake, the ’61 American League all-star roster had 10 future Hall of Famers and was hardly a shabby lot. But for sheer maximization of the NL’s dominance in that era, particularly in holding a big edge in the signing of superstar African-American players, 1961 seemed like a defining moment.

African-Americans on the AL roster: Elston Howard, period.

And yet . . .

The 1961 season belonged to the American League.

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Originally published: April 6, 2016. Last Updated: April 6, 2016.