MLB All-Star Game MVP Award Background

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Originally called the Arch Ward Memorial Award, since 1962, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award has been presented each season to the player who is deemed to have demonstrated the most exceptional prowess during the All-Star Game – also known as the Midsummer Classic – which is usually played on the second Tuesday in July as a symbolic marker of the Major League Baseball season’s halfway point (although mathematically this usually actually occurs one week prior to the All-Star Game). The host stadium for the All-Star Game alternates between the two leagues each year, with its specific location being determined by a Major League Baseball selection committee. Fans, along with fellow players, coaches, and managers all place votes to determine which players will make up each league’s team each year. No regular season games are scheduled for the day before or the day after – making those two days the only days of the entire year during which no regular season or preseason games are played within any of the United States’ major professional sports leagues including basketball, baseball, football, and hockey.

During the early 1930’s the Major League Baseball All-Star game had been the idea of Arch Ward – hence the original name of the game’s Most Valuable Player award – who at the time was a sports editor for The Chicago Tribune. The idea was for the best players from each league, regardless of their actual teams, would compete together as a team on behalf of their respective leagues against one another. The first all-star game was held in Chicago, Illinois in 1933, as part of the World’s Fair, and had at the time been meant to take place as a one-time competition. However, the game was so well-received in its inaugural year that it became an annual event between chosen players from the National League against chosen players of the American League, in teams now chosen by a combination of coaches, managers, fellow players, and baseball fans. Although the All-Star Game was introduced in 1933, the Most Valuable Player Award was not presented for the first time until 1962.

In 1970, the name of the sports award was changed to the Commissioner’s Trophy, but reverted to its original name in 1985 when the World Series Trophy took on the Commissioner’s Trophy name instead. In 2002, the trophy yet again took on a new name: the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award, in memory of the Boston Rex Sox player who had passed away from cardiac arrest earlier in the year. The 2002 All-Star Game ended in a tie, and no MVP award was distributed that year, although a Fox newscaster had noted that Damian Miller would have received the honor if the National League had been victorious, and Paul Konerko would have been the recipient if the American League had won. Since 2002’s tie left that year’s award open, however, in 2003, outfielder Garret Anderson of the Anaheim Angels became the first recipient of the newly named award.