From Paul Dickson at The National Pastime Museum on February 19, 2017:
The most enduring baseball custom to emerge during the Great Depression—the midseason All-Star Game between the American and National Leagues—was the brainchild of several individuals with no direct connection to baseball.
In 1933, the city of Chicago was to host a World’s Fair known as the Century of Progress International Exposition. The event would celebrate the city’s centennial while creating optimism in the throes the Depression. Mayor Edward Kelly, newly installed after the death of Mayor Anton J. Cermak who died when an assassin attempted to kill President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in Miami, was determined to make the fair a success, which meant more and better entertainment. He approached Colonel Robert McCormick, the powerful publisher of the Chicago Tribune, with the idea of staging a special baseball exhibition game as an element of the fair.
McCormick liked the idea and turned the matter over to his sports editor, Arch Ward, who proposed a one-time “Game of the Century” that would pit the finest players of the American and National Leagues against each other in Chicago. Ward was so certain the game would be a hit that he offered McCormick the option of taking any losses out of his own paycheck, an option that McCormick rejected.
Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/game-century-major-league-baseball-agrees-all-star-game
- Related link: Read “The Retroactive All-Star Game Project,” by Chuck Hildebrandt with Mike Lynch (Spring 2015 Baseball Research Journal)
Originally published: February 21, 2017. Last Updated: February 21, 2017.