85 years ago, Arlington man was in stands during 1st All-Star Game

Ed Bearss, of Arlington, Virginia, was just a boy when he watched the first All-Star Game in 1933 with his family. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Ed Bearss, of Arlington, Virginia, was just a boy when he watched the first All-Star Game in 1933 with his family. (WTOP/Dick Uliano) (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Ed Bearss, 95, talks with WTOP about watching the first All-Star game in 1933. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Ed Bearss, 95, talks with WTOP about watching the first All-Star Game in 1933. (WTOP/Dick Uliano) (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
The American League team poses before the first major league All-Star Game in Chicago, July, 6, 1933.  The American League won 4-2.  Front row, from left: Al Schact, Eddie Collins, Tony Lazzeri, General Crowder, Foxx Fletcher, Earl Averill, Ed Rommel, Ben Chapman, Rick Ferrell, Sam West, Charlie Gehringer, bat boy.  Back row, from left: bat boy, unidentified team member, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Oral Hildebrand, Connie Mack, Joe Cronin, Lefty grove, bat boy, Bill Dickey, Al Simmons, Lefty Gomez, Wes Ferrell, Jimmy Dykes, club boy. (AP Photo)
The American League team poses before the first major league All-Star Game in Chicago, July, 6, 1933. The American League won 4-2. Front row, from left: Al Schact, Eddie Collins, Tony Lazzeri, General Crowder, Foxx Fletcher, Earl Averill, Ed Rommel, Ben Chapman, Rick Ferrell, Sam West, Charlie Gehringer, bat boy. Back row, from left: bat boy, unidentified team member, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Oral Hildebrand, Connie Mack, Joe Cronin, Lefty grove, bat boy, Bill Dickey, Al Simmons, Lefty Gomez, Wes Ferrell, Jimmy Dykes, club boy. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Babe Ruth crosses home plate following a two run home run off National League starting pitcher Bill Hallahan in the third inning of the first All-Star Game ever played, July 6, 1933.  Greeting Ruth at home plate are, from left:  Yankee teammate, Lou Gehrig and White Sox bat boy, John McBride.  Barely visible behind Gehrig is National League catcher Jimmie Wilson.  The American League won 4-2. (AP Photo)
Babe Ruth crosses home plate following a two-run home run off National League starting pitcher Bill Hallahan in the third inning of the first All-Star Game ever played, July 6, 1933. Greeting Ruth at home plate are, from left: Yankee teammate, Lou Gehrig and White Sox bat boy, John McBride. Barely visible behind Gehrig is National League catcher Jimmie Wilson. The American League won 4-2. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The National League team poses before the first major league All-Star Game in Chicago, Ill., on July 6, 1933.  The American League won 4-2.  Front row, from left: bat boy Hasbrook, Pepper Martin, Lon Warneke, Tony Cuccinello.  Middle row, from left: Bill Hallahan, Dick Bartell, Bill Terry, Bill McKechnie, John McGraw, Max Carey, Chick Hafey, Chuck Klein, Lefty O'Doul, Wally Berger.  Back row, from left: Gabby Hartnett, Hack Wilson, Frankie Frisch, Carl Hubbell, Bill Walker, Paul Warner, Woody English, Hal Schumacher, Pie Traynor, trainer Andy Lotshaw.  (AP Photo)
The National League team poses before the first major league All-Star Game in Chicago, Ill., on July 6, 1933. The American League won 4-2. Front row, from left: bat boy Hasbrook, Pepper Martin, Lon Warneke, Tony Cuccinello. Middle row, from left: Bill Hallahan, Dick Bartell, Bill Terry, Bill McKechnie, John McGraw, Max Carey, Chick Hafey, Chuck Klein, Lefty O’Doul, Wally Berger. Back row, from left: Gabby Hartnett, Hack Wilson, Frankie Frisch, Carl Hubbell, Bill Walker, Paul Warner, Woody English, Hal Schumacher, Pie Traynor, trainer Andy Lotshaw. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
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Ed Bearss, of Arlington, Virginia, was just a boy when he watched the first All-Star Game in 1933 with his family. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Ed Bearss, 95, talks with WTOP about watching the first All-Star game in 1933. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
The American League team poses before the first major league All-Star Game in Chicago, July, 6, 1933.  The American League won 4-2.  Front row, from left: Al Schact, Eddie Collins, Tony Lazzeri, General Crowder, Foxx Fletcher, Earl Averill, Ed Rommel, Ben Chapman, Rick Ferrell, Sam West, Charlie Gehringer, bat boy.  Back row, from left: bat boy, unidentified team member, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Oral Hildebrand, Connie Mack, Joe Cronin, Lefty grove, bat boy, Bill Dickey, Al Simmons, Lefty Gomez, Wes Ferrell, Jimmy Dykes, club boy. (AP Photo)
Babe Ruth crosses home plate following a two run home run off National League starting pitcher Bill Hallahan in the third inning of the first All-Star Game ever played, July 6, 1933.  Greeting Ruth at home plate are, from left:  Yankee teammate, Lou Gehrig and White Sox bat boy, John McBride.  Barely visible behind Gehrig is National League catcher Jimmie Wilson.  The American League won 4-2. (AP Photo)
The National League team poses before the first major league All-Star Game in Chicago, Ill., on July 6, 1933.  The American League won 4-2.  Front row, from left: bat boy Hasbrook, Pepper Martin, Lon Warneke, Tony Cuccinello.  Middle row, from left: Bill Hallahan, Dick Bartell, Bill Terry, Bill McKechnie, John McGraw, Max Carey, Chick Hafey, Chuck Klein, Lefty O'Doul, Wally Berger.  Back row, from left: Gabby Hartnett, Hack Wilson, Frankie Frisch, Carl Hubbell, Bill Walker, Paul Warner, Woody English, Hal Schumacher, Pie Traynor, trainer Andy Lotshaw.  (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON — When Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game comes to town Tuesday Ed Bearss, (pronounced BAHRZ), 95, of Arlington, Virginia, will be watching and remembering.

The National Park Service Historian Emeritus and combat-wounded World War II Marine veteran was in the stands at Comiskey Park in Chicago for the first All-Star Game, July 6, 1933.

“In the bottom of the third inning, Babe Ruth hit a home run … you could see him rounding the bases and being very deliberate and you could see his body English that he was really up, high-honored as he comes into home plate,” said Bearss, who at 10 years old drove the 1,200 miles with his family from their ranch near Sarpy, Montana, to Chicago for the game.

Bearss also sadly recalls watching Lou Gehrig in that first All-Star Game, which the American League All-Stars won, 4-2, over the National League All-Stars.

“Particularly important on Lou Gehrig is that he has already been diagnosed with, what is now known as, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and this will be the last [time] he’ll ever play in the All-Star Game,” Bearss said.

That first All Star-Game made a baseball fan of the boy, even though a steel beam partially obstructed his view from the right-field stands.

“My first recollection would be that it wasn’t a very good seat,” Bearrs said. However, he took solace in being close to where Babe Ruth patrolled the outfield.

He also remembers ballgames on the radio. His dad erected an enormous antenna on their ranch that was capable of pulling in the signals of far away radio stations, in the days before television.

He fondly remembers hearing history unfold in the second All-Star Game, on July 10, 1934, from the Polo Grounds in New York, when the National League Giants pitcher struck out five future Hall of Famers.

“I always remember hearing on the radio when Carl Hubbell strikes out (Babe) Ruth, (Lou) Gehrig, (Jimmy) Fox, (Al) Simmons and (Joe) Cronin, in succession,” Bearss said. But the American League would go on to beat the National League, 9-7.

From their home on the ranch, the Bearss family followed the travails of the Chicago Cubs. But now the historian and author lives in Arlington, proudly sports a Washington Nationals cap and hopes to one day see the Nats in the World Series.

“I hope no one panics and I would like to see the Nats do what the Cubs took so many years to do after 1908,” Bearss said.

Bearrs has a role to the play in this year’s All-Star festivities. He’ll throw out the first pitch Friday night at Nationals Park in the inaugural Armed Services Classic — a coed softball game of active duty military personnel from all five branches of the services.


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