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The 1952 All-Star game was played in Philadelphia on July 8. It was a miserable, rainy day, but 32,785 soggy fans came to Shibe Park to see the National League win, 3-2, in a game that was called off after 5 innings. They saw Phillies’ lefty Curt Simmons pitch 3 shutout innings, and they saw A’s lefty Bobby Shantz strikeout the side in the 5th inning. The game was decided on homeruns by National League stars, Jackie Robinson and Hank Sauer. It was fun while it lasted.
The game seemed to give new life to the phillies; coming into the All-Star game break, the team was 35-40, 17 ½ games behind the first place Dodgers. After the break, the Phils were 53-26, making up eight games on the Dodgers to finish in fourth place with an 87-67 record. It is also possible that the new life came because they had a new manager. On June 28, 10 days before the break, with the team at 28-35, Eddie Sawyer was replaced as manager by 10-year veteran manager Steve O’Neil.
Robin Roberts was the best pitcher in baseball in 1952; he once again led the National League with 330 innings pitched, and finished with a 28-7 record with three shutouts and a 2.59 ERA. He led the team charge after the break, going 17-1. Curt Simmons, back from the Army, was 14-8 with a league-leading six shutouts, and a 2.82 ERA.
The turnaround was due to an instinctive move by the manager to shake up the batting order. Sawyer’s losing batting order, prior to the break was: Hamner, Ashburn, Jones, Ennis, Nicholson, Ryan, Waitkus, Burgess. O’Neil’s winning order, after the break was: Ryan, Ashburn, Wyrostek, Ennis, Hamner, Jones, Burgess, Waitkus.
Johnny Wyrostek had come from Cincinnati on May 23rd in a trade for Bubba Church. Wyrostek was 33 years-old, a lefthanded hitting outfielder who had been a two-time all-star with the Reds; for the Phils in 1952, he was in 98 games and hit .274 with one homerun and 37 RBIs.
There were murmurs from disgruntled fans that Dick Sisler could have made the difference. With St.Louis in 1952, Sisler hit .261 with 13 homeruns and 60 RBIs.