That's the Ticket
Highlighting the tickets for the mid-summer baseball classics
By Dan Busby
The All-Star game is an annual gathering of the best players baseball has to offer. For those few fans fortunate enough to attend an All-Star Game, the ticket serves as one of the prized treasures from the event.
The 2005 All-Star Game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit will be the 76th annual all-star gathering. You don't have to be in the stadium to grab an All-Star ticket - from that game or any previous all-star encounters. A collector just has to be willing to invest time and a little cash to find these All-Star ticket gems.
Because the game has evolved into such a momentous event, the tickets themselves hold special meaning to their owners. These All-Star tickets, because of their collectible nature and to discourage counterfeiting, now feature intricate detail in their designs.
In recent years we have seen anti-counterfeiting features such as embossing, a higher grade of paper and a trace system on the back of each ticket that when it goes through a sensor, reveals whether or not it is real.
Because there is only one All-Star Game each year, many collectors value these tickets at least as much as tickets from a series with multiple games such as the World Series, a championship series or a division series.
Collecting All-Star Game tickets can become a bit complicated. For example, tickets for the 1984 All-Star Game in San Francisco were printed in at least three different colorslight pink, dark gray and light gray. There are also size variations. In 1939 (Yankee Stadium) and 1941 (Tiger Stadium), the bleacher tickets were smaller than the regular tickets and were printed on lighter weight paper. And, for the 1936 game at Boston, a smaller pavilion ticket was printed.
The most attractive All-Star tickets? The 1995 Texas and 1996 Philadelphia die-cut tickets are among my favorites. Fortunately for collectors, teams are distributing either Lucite ticket or plastic ticket holders at the gate for that game. As a result, more mint condition tickets exist from recent years than before.
All-Star tickets from the 1993 game at Camden Yards qualify for the most unusual. The league designed a graphic featuring the clock on the Orioles' outfield wall. They printed the graphic across four tickets, so it takes all four, lined side-by-side, to get the full picture.
Beginning with the 1993 All-Star Game in Baltimore, the All-Star Game tickets usually have not been torn at the turnstiles. For some years, they marked the back of the tickets to ensure they weren't used twice. In 1997, the Indians had the first bar codes on the tickets that were read with scanners at the gate.
Because of the rarity of the untorn tickets from before 1993, their prices can soar up to three times that of just a stub. Across the years, most All-Star games sold out quickly and those fans fortunate enough to get tickets usually attended the game. As a result, not many unused All-Star Game tickets exist pre-1993.
Ironically, there are a number of tickets in circulation from baseball's first All-Star game in 1933 at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Apparently, many of the ushers were not instructed to tear off the usher's end of the tickets. This also apparently happened at the 1935 game at the Polo Grounds. Of course, this significantly increases the value of a full stub from these years.
Be aware that there appear to be thousands of extra 1947 Wrigley Field tickets on the market.
If you find tickets to two different annual All-Star games from 1959 to 1962, don't panic. A additional All-Star game was played in each of those four seasons to help raise money for the players' pension fund.