Did Ford Frick Veto the Fans on the Voting for Two All-Stars in 1957?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far.

BASEBALL URBAN LEGEND: Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick vetoed the fans on voting for two All-Stars in 1957.

Ted (Big Klu) Kluszewski was a slugging first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds during the 1950s. A popular player, he was an All-Star in 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1956.

However, in 1957, Kluszewski was injured most of the season, so his back-up, George Crowe, became the everyday first baseman for the Reds, and it was Crowe who was on the All Star Ballot as the Reds’ First Base representative.

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That’s notable only because, when the voting results were in for the 1957 All Star Game (to be held in St. Louis), Crowe was the ONLY one of Cicinnati’s EIGHT players on the ballot to NOT get elected to be in the All-Star Game!!!

Yep, Catcher Ed Bailey, Second Baseman Johnny Temple, Shortstop Roy McMillan, Third Baseman Don Hoak, Left Fielder Frank Robinson, Center Fielder Gus Bell and Right Fielder Wally Post ALL got elected by the fans to start for the National League in the 1957 All Star Game!

The 1957 Reds were a fun team to watch, as they WERE a good offensive team (and Robinson, of course, was a Hall of Famer), but SEVEN of the EIGHT positions?

As mentioned before, the only position that they did not take was First Base, where the replacement for the injured Klu, George Crowe, lost out to Hall of Famer Stan Musial, of the Cardinals (who, again, were hosting the All Star Game that year).

After an investigation, it turned out that HALF of ALL the votes cast for the All Star Game in 1957 came from Cincinnati. Cincinnati newspapers printed out pre-filled out ballots that fans just had to sign and mail in. Bars would make filling out a ballot a pre-condition to buying a beer.

Ultimately, Commissioner Ford Frick decided that while he couldn’t really mess with the other positions too much, he would at least replace two players, Gus Bell and Wally Post, with two of the most popular players in the National League in 1957, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.

Here are Post and Bell posed surrounding Kluszewski on a 1956 Sports Illustrated cover…

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The ballot stuffing in Cincinnati had a problematic result for fans – Frick took the vote for the All Star Game out of the hands of the fans. They would not be allowed to vote for All Stars again until 1970.

Since Bell was already a three-time All Star at the time (and would go on to see both his son AND two of his grandsons play in the Big Leagues – his son, Buddy, even made it to one more All Star Game than his old man), Frick allowed him to make the team as a reserve. Post, though, had no such luck, and retired in 1964 having never made it to the All Star Game.

STATUS: True.

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2 Responses to “Did Ford Frick Veto the Fans on the Voting for Two All-Stars in 1957?”

  1. Um…isn’t the status true? Or I am grossly misreading something?

  2. Yeah, silly typo. Thanks for picking it up!

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