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The first All-Star Game was held as part of the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago and was the brainchild of Arch Ward, then sports editor for The Chicago Tribune. Initially intended to be a
one-time event, its great success resulted in making the game an annual one.
The venue is chosen by Major League Baseball and traditionally alternates between the two leagues every year. (This tradition was first broken in 1951, when the Detroit Tigers were
chosen to host the annual game as part of the city's Sesquibicentennial at Briggs Stadium, and was broken again in 2007, when the San Francisco Giants hosted the 2007 All-Star Game. Both the Giants and the Pirates are NL teams. The "home team" is the league in which the host franchise plays its games.
The criteria for choosing the venue are subjective; for the most part, cities with new parks and cities who have not hosted the game in a long time tend to get the nod. In 2005, Comerica
Park, the new home of the Tigers, hosted the Midsummer Classic.
The designated hitter rule is applied based on the league in which the host team plays. In an American League ballpark, both teams use a designated hitter to hit for the pitcher. In a
National League ballpark, both teams' pitchers must hit.
The manager for each league's team has for many years been the manager of the previous year's league champion. Note that this honor is applied to the person, not the team, so it's
possible that the All-Star manager could no longer be with the team he won with (as happened in 2003, when Dusty Baker managed the National League team despite having moved from the
champion San Francisco Giants to the Chicago Cubs in the off-season). The coaching staff is selected by the manager.
Each team consists of 32 players, selected in one of the following ways, listed in order:
Fan voting: Baseball fans vote on the starting position players for the All-Star Game, with ballots distributed at baseball games before mid-season and, more recently, on the
Internet. When the game is played at an American League park, the designated hitter for the AL team is also selected in this manner.
Player voting: As of 2005, pitchers and one back-up player for each position are elected by the other players. If the top vote-getter at a certain position is also being
voted in via fan voting, then the second-place finisher in this category is chosen for the team.
Manager selection (first): The manager and the Commissioner's Office will fill the roster up to 31 players.
Final vote: After the lists of 31 players for each league is announced, fans will vote for one additional player, chosen from a list of 5 players provided by the manager and
the Commissioner's Office.
Manager selection (second): After the final vote, the manager and the Commissioner's Office will replace players who are injured or declined to participate. Each major
league team is guaranteed to have at least one player selected to participate.
Between 1935 and 1946, the manager of each All-Star squad selected the entire team. Fans received the right to vote on the eight starters (excluding the pitcher) starting in 1947. In
1957, fans of the host Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot box as a result of a promotion by a local newspaper which printed pre-marked ballots, and elected a Red to every position
except first base. Commissioner Ford Frick stepped in and removed two Reds from the lineup. As a response to this fiasco, the right to elect the non-pitching starters was taken away
from the fans until 1970. From 1958 through 1969, players, coaches, and managers made the choices.