1951 East-West Game

From BR Bullpen

The 1951 East-West Game was the 19th East-West Game held at Comiskey Park. It took place on August 12, 1951, and was won by the East, 3-1. As with the prior couple East-West Games, the primary note was one of decline:

  • The number of players who would wind up in the majors was down from 13 three years prior to 6 last year to just 3 this year.
  • Attendance was 21,312 (only 14,161 paid), the lowest since the first East-West Game 18 years earlier.
  • Only player drew over 10,000 votes (Ed Steele, 10,019) - back in 1939, the highest total was over 500,000.

For the first five innings, there was a scoreless duel. Theolic Smith (the first pitcher to appear in an East-West Game in three different decades) of the West and Leander Tugerson of the East matched zeroes for three innings. The East did threaten in the second when Doc Dennis and Milt Smith got into scoring position, but 38-year-old Theolic Smith fanned 41-year-old Johnny Hayes to end the threat. Kelly Searcy relieved Tugerson and Vibert Clarke relieved Smith in the 4th. The West got Jose Colas to third that frame but failed to score. In the 5th, Milt Smith bunted his way aboard with one out, stole second and took third on a Hayes hit, then Henry Kimbro walked. Clarke escaped the jam by retiring Searcy and Sherwood Brewer.

In the 6th, the East got the game's first runs. Ray Neil singled and one out later, Ed Steele hit a 415' triple over Colas's head to drive him in. Norman Robinson doubled in Steele, but out trying for third. Milt Smith singled, knocking out Clarke, and Jay Heard put out the fire.

The West got one run back in the bottom of the frame, as Bill Williams got an infield hit and took second on an error. With two outs, he had moved to third, when another Williams, Curley Williams cracked a sacrifice fly. Wilmer Harris replaced Searcy and allowed no more West runs. The East got an insurance run in the 9th against Heard on a double by Robinson and a triple by pinch-hitter Ben Littles.

Top performers for the East were Robinson (2 for 4, 2 2B, R, RBI), Milt Smith (2 for 3, BB, SB, E) and the pitching trio of Tugerson, Searcy and Harris (2 hits apiece in 3 innings, one unearned run total, one walk total, six whiffs). Brewer was 0 for 4 with an error as their worst player.

For the West, Tom Cooper led the way with 2 hits in 4 at-bats, while Theolic Smith tossed three shutout innings. Future big leaguers Clarke (6 H, BB, 2 R in 2 2/3 IP) and Heard (1 R in 3 1/3 IP) were less effective than the veteran knuckleballer, though. Clarke became the only player to take the loss in three different East-West Games, having already done so in the second contests of 1946 and 1948.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
East 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 3 10 3
West 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 6 1

Players used[edit]

East Starting Lineup

Backups Used


West Starting Lineup

Backups Used



  • Simon Lewis, T.H. Jefferson, R.W. Garrett, Simmie Gardner, Wallace Williams, Andrew Summers

Source: Black Baseball's National Showcase by Larry Lester