July 17, 1979: Dave Parker Named MVP as NL Stars Beat AL, 7-6

By Wilbur Miller

Dave Parker showed off his cannon of an arm in right as MLB’s stars met in Seattle.  Parker gunned down two runners in the late innings of a seesaw game to earn the MVP award.  The throws kept the game tight as the NL scored a run to tie in the eighth and got the winning run in the top of the ninth.  The 7-6 victory gave the NL its eighth straight All-Star win, and 16th out of 17.

The hitters got off to a fast start against the NL’s Steve Carlton and the AL’s Nolan Ryan.  The NL got two runs in the top of the first on a two-out walk to Steve Garvey, a triple by Mike Schmidt and a double by George Foster.  But the AL came right back with three in the bottom half, as Don Baylor doubled in a run and Fred Lynn reached Carlton for a two-run home run.

The NL got the lead back, 4-3, with single runs in the second and third.  Parker brought in the first with a sacrifice fly and Schmidt scored the other on a grounder after leading off with a double.

The AL got the lead back again against Joaquin Andujar in the bottom of the third, with the help of some sloppy play.  A single, a wild pitch and a hit batsman set up an RBI single by Carl Yastrzemski.  A Schmidt error then let in a second run.

Things settled down for a bit after that, with neither team getting a baserunner in the fourth or fifth.  Steve Rogers had probably the day’s best outing on the mound, throwing both innings.

The teams traded runs in the sixth.  Gary Carter singled in Winfield, who’d doubled, to tie the game in the top half.  In the bottom half, though, Gaylord Perry gave up three hits to start the inning, putting the AL back on top, 6-5, with runners at the corners and nobody out.  Joe Sambito rescued Perry, getting a grounder that led to the runner on third being thrown out.

After that, Parker took over the show on defense.  With the score still 6-5, Jim Rice led off the bottom of the seventh with a fly ball down the right field line that Parker overran.  When the ball took a high bounce into foul territory, Rice tried to make it to third.  Parker got to the ball on one bounce and threw a bullet to third that caught Rice easily.

Lee Mazzilli led off the eighth with a home run to tie the game and then Parker came through again.  With Bruce Sutter on the mound, Brian Downing led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice.  Sutter gave Reggie Jackson a free pass and fanned Bobby Grich.  With two out, Graig Nettles lined a hit to moderately deep right.  Parker grabbed the high hop and uncorked a powerful throw to the plate on the fly.  Gary Carter had the plate blocked and made a nice tag just in time to get Downing, keeping the game tied.  (Video of both of Parker’s throws can be found here.)

The NL took a 7-6 lead in the top of the ninth in rather anticlimactic fashion.  Jim Kern walked Joe Morgan with one out and balked him to second.  Kern then walked Parker (who finished 1-for-3 with one RBI) intentionally and, after a popup, walked Ron Cey to load the bases.  Ron Guidry came in to face Lee Mazzilli and walked him to force in the run.  Sutter finished the bottom half and the NL had a 7-6 win.

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