Sports | July 20, 2022 1:05 pm

Why Does the American League Always Win the MLB All-Star Game?

The National League has lost the Midsummer Classic for nine years in a row — and counting

Emmanuel Clase celebrates after getting the final out against the National League
Emmanuel Clase secured the AL's ninth straight win against the National League.
Sean M. Haffey/Getty

Closing out the game after Amerian League starter Shane McClanahan of Tampa Bay, who owns a league-leading 1.71 ERA, gave up two runs and four hits to the National League, Cleveland’s Emmanuel Clase struck out the side in the ninth to propel his team to a victory in the 92nd All-Star Game in the history of Major League Baseball.

The 3-2 win, which was aided by back-to-back homers in the fourth inning including a bomb by Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees, was the ninth in the row for the AL. Even though the all-time series between the two leagues is fairly even at 47-43-2 in favor of last night’s winner, the recent history has not been close as the NL has won the Midsummer Classic just six times in the last 30 years.

The AL’s recent dominance is a stark reversal of what took place in the ’60s and ’70s when the NL dominated the All-Star game and even reeled off an 11-game winning streak from 1972 to 1982 that came on the heels of an eight-game streak from 1963 to 1970. With the win last night, the AL surpassed the latter.

The reason behind the AL’s recent dominance in the All-Star Game isn’t really clear as there haven’t been any major changes that would have favored one league over the other. The only major difference between the two leagues, the designated hitter, was removed this season, and both the AL and NL have been impacted equally by the league cutting down on pitchers using banned substances on the mound and an altered baseball.

To that end, the NL has fared better in the World Series in recent years, winning six out of 10 in the last decade, even though the AL holds the all-time edge at 66-51. The overall record between the leagues in interleague play, which began in 1997, is also fairly even with the AL winning 3,578 games and the NL taking 3,265.

Really, the difference between the two sides may just be that one has Stanton and one doesn’t (although they used to when he was a Marlin).

A five-time All-Star with 24 home runs and an .835 OPS in 76 games this season, Stanton had been hitless in his previous All-Star at-bats until his game-winning blast in the fourth. That hit earned him MVP honors.

“It’s very special to me, so I think it’s right up there with anything personally. I have some goals in terms of winning a championship and going all the way, but personally, for the road I’ve gone to get to where I am now, this is very special,” he said of the award.

A 10th straight win for the AL next year will be too.