Cubs first baseman Ernie Banks went from late-inning sub to All-Star Game hero with a two-out, two-run home run in the eighth inning that propelled the National League to a 4-2 win over the American League.
With his clutch hit, Banks was named the All-Star Game MVP. But he wasn't the only Cub to make a key contribution. Second baseman Glenn Beckert drove in the tying run in the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly to score Dennis Menke, who had come into the game as a pinch runner for Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, who led off the inning with a walk.
Cubs ace Fergie Jenkins was a late addition to the NL squad after posting 17 wins before the All-Star break. He pitched one inning of scoreless relief. Shortstop Don Kessinger went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in the second spot in the NL batting order.
Cubs leftfielder Billy Williams -- another late addition to the team due to batting .322 with 12 homers and 64 RBI -- grounded out to lead off the third inning as a pinch hitter for starting pitcher Steve Carlton of the Cardinals. Catcher Randy Hundley struck out in his only at bat in the ninth inning.
With seven players on the team -- the most of any team in either league -- the Cubs were well-represented in the mid-season classic.
That's when Banks, a Hall-of-Famer and 11-time all-star, smacked it over the left field fence at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. (Incidentally, this would be the last All-Star Game appearance for Banks, who retired after the 1971 season.)
The American League scored first, after pinch hitter Mike Hegan of the upstart Seattle Pilots led off with a single in the third inning off Tom Seaver of the Mets. Hegan went to third on a single by Minnesota second baseman Rod Carew, who then stole second. Hegan scored on a ground out to second by Reggie Jackson of the A's, with Carew moving to third on the play.
Frank Robinson of the O's then drew a walk off Seaver, who had entered the game to pitch the bottom of the third. With Orioles first baseman Boog Powell batting, Robinson and Carew executed a nifty double steal, with Carew scoring on the play. Robinson then was stranded at second as sluggers Powell and Frank Howard of the Senators both grounded out to end the inning.
That would be it for the American League, as they mustered only three more singles and a trio of walks over the next six innings.
The National League finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning as pinch hitter Pete Rose of the Reds lived up to his nickname, Charlie Hustle. He led off the inning with a single off Tigers ace Mickey Lolich. He advanced to second on a ground out by Matty Alou of the Pirates. He came around to score on Kessinger's first single.
The Nationals tied the game in the seventh on Beckert's sacrifice fly to right field, then took the lead on Banks' home run in the eighth.
San Francisco's Juan Marichal got the win while pitching a scoreless seventh and eighth inning. Larry Dierker, who tossed a no-hitter versus the Cubs earlier in the season, got the save.
The bottom of the ninth was not without a bit of drama, however, after Dierker surrendered a leadoff single to Boston's Yastrzemski. Yaz then promptly stole second, and Brooks Robinson walked. Next up was Minnesota's Harmon Killebrew.
The Twins slugger smacked a fly ball to deep left center, but Mays was able to track it down. Mays then gunned a throw to Menke at third to nail Yastrzemski for the second out. Dierker then struck out Twins catcher Johnny Roseboro to end the game.
Odom was tagged with loss after giving up Banks' game-winning hit.
Cubs fans can only hope the All-Star success translates to an equally successful second half of the 1969 replay season for their first-place Cubbies...