clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Top Tribe All-Star Performances #1: Mel Harder, 1934

Mel Harder had an outstanding career, highlighted by a record 13 scoreless All-Star innings.
Mel Harder had an outstanding career, highlighted by a record 13 scoreless All-Star innings.

Box Score

The AL won the 1934 All-Star Game 9-7, the two teams combining for 22 hits, but, strangely enough, two pitching performances stood out in this game. First, NL starter Carl Hubbell struck out six batters in 3 innings, and all six of those strikeout victims were future Hall of Famers. After allowing the first two batters to reach in the first, Hubbell struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx to end the first, and started the second with strikeouts of Al Simmons and Joe Cronin. He would also strike out AL starting pitcher Lefty Gomez in the top of the third.

Red Ruffing came in for Gomez to start the fourth, and ran into trouble in the fifth inning, allowing the first four runners to reach. With two runs in in the inning, Cleveland's Mel Harder was called upon to quell the rally. Harder was in the midst of his best season; in this era of high-octane offense, Harder would finish the season with a 2.61 ERA, which translated to a 173 ERA+.

Harder had his work cut out for him. There were runners on first and second, and future Hall of Famer Mel Ott was up. Ott lined a ball into the outfield, but the right fielder was able to throw to second in time to force the runner for the first out of the inning. Next up was Pittsburgh's Paul Waner, who would also later enter the Hall of Famer. Harder struck him out. With two outs and Bill Terry (also a future Hall of Famer) up, the NL pulled off a double steal, and both runners were safe. Harder would walk Terry, but get out of the inning by retiring Arky Vaughan (guess what? future Hall of Famer) on a fielder's choice. The NL had put three runs on the board, but the AL still led 8-7.

Harder would make that lead stand up. He finished the game, allowing one more walk and a ninth-inning double. Harder finished the game with this line: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 SO, 1 BB. He's only one of two pitchers to throw five shutout innings in an All-Star game, and the degree of difficulty in accomplishing that feat was high; Harder would faced 18 batters, 14 of them coming against Hall of Fame position players.

Harder would pitch in three more All-Star games, and didn't allow a run in any of those games. His career 13 scoreless innings is an All-Star record.