Atlee Hammaker

Atlee HammakerLess than one inning in an All-Star Game seemed to have changed the fortune of Atlee Hammaker’s career.

In 1983 the lefthander had an excellent first half for the San Francisco Giants, winning nine games and posting a miniscule 1.70 ERA in 15 starts, earning a spot on the All-Star team. He was only 25 years old and seemed to be the ace of the future for the Giants, and a rising star in the National League.

In the 50th All-Star Game at Comiskey Park he came in to pitch the third inning and was treated very rudely by the American League lineup. Hammaker surrendered the cycle: a leadoff homer to Jim Rice, a triple to George Brett, singles to Dave Winfield and Manny Trillo, a double to Rod Carew, a walk to Robin Yount, and a grand slam to Fred Lynn, in that order. The grand slam was the first in All-Star Game history and the seven runs Hammaker allowed were the most ever by a pitcher in the midsummer classic.

While 2/3 of an inning in an All-Star Game couldn’t possibly have been responsible for what happened in the rest of Hammaker’s career, it is ironic that after the game he went 1-5 in the second half of the season and started to experience arm trouble that fall, which hampered him in 1984 and for the remainder of his career. He missed all of 1986 with a sore arm but battled back and had some success again later in the decade, but still, his record after that fateful All-Star appearance was 37-52.