I bet you remember exactly where you were when the Sox finished off St. Louis in 2004, when you leaned about “The Tuck Rule”, or when Bird stole the ball versus the Pistons in 1987. Generally I think most All Star game memories fade like the smoke from your fourth of July fireworks.
But not memories of the 1999 MLB All Star game at Fenway park. I don’t know about you, but I can remember much of that night like it was last week.
I was at a friends house in New Hampshire. I had my car packed to the roof and was beginning my move south to work at the NBC affiliate in Mobile, Alabama. I obviously was really pushing myself as I made it all the way from Bangor to the Granite State in travel day #1!
As we sat on the couch in his living room, I remember the goosebumps I felt as the players flocked around Ted Williams to shake hands with the greatest hitter that ever lived. I’m not old enough to have seen Teddy Ballgame play, but for much of my baseball and adult softball league career, I wore #9 hoping to hit just a little bit like him. To see him at age 80 basking in the glow and admiration of so many players was moving.
Bonds. McGuire. Griffey Jr. Gwynn. Sosa. Ripken. The field was covered with future Hall of Famers. Remember this was the year after the great homer battle of 1998, long before we talked about steroids in the game and the Mitchell Report.
As it was the final All Star game of the 20th century, the 100 best living players of all time were on hand. Mays. Aaron. Clemens. Yaz. Feller. The list was long.
I recall standing up as Pedro mowed down the first three batters of the game. He struck out four in a row and five out of six batters in his two innings of work. Fenway was rocking! He got the win and was the games MVP.
Nomar was the starting shortstop that night as well. He was hitting over .360 at the All Star break. He, along with Pedro, was the face of the franchise. Ted Willimans called him “his kid.”
He was at short replaced during the game by Derek Jeter. It was a cool moment. And as a footnote Jose Offerman was a reserve.
The Red Sox didn’t frequently play in the World Series or even the playoffs back then as they have in the last 15 years. To have this event at little old Fenway actually made me proud as a Sox fan.
Even with all the Sox have accomplished since then July 13, 1999 is one of my favorite sporting nights of all time.