Monday marks the 21-year anniversary of the 1999 MLB All Star Game. July 13, 1999 forever goes down as one of the greatest nights in the history of Fenway Park.
That night the entire game of baseball was truly America's past time. Nothing was bigger than baseball in this country in terms of the sports scene.
Pedro Martinez got the win with one of the most dominant performances in All Star game history. Just minutes after Ted Williams made a goose bump inducing appearance, Pedro put on a show.
Martinez struck out Barry Larkin, Larry Walker and Sammy Sosa in the first inning. All he did to follow it up in the second was strike out Mark McGwire and then got Jeff Bagwell to hit into a double play after Matt Williams reached on an error.
The two innings seemed to fly by for 10-year old me at the time. My parents had won tickets to a watch party at the Avalon, so, I watched those historic moments from my grandparents' living room. That night is one of those nights as a fan you remember where you were.
It's incredible to look back and take a look at those lineups as well. The amount of talent and name recognition compared to today's All Stars is mind blowing.
The National League had Larkin, Walker, Sosa, McGwire, Williams, Bagwell, Piazza, Jeromy Burnitz and Jay Bell. The American League put out Kenny Lofton, Nomar, Griffey, Manny, Jim Thome, Cal Ripken, Rafael Palmeiro. Pudge Rodriguez and Roberto Almoar. Those are just the starting lineups too.
Tony Gwynn, Vlad Guererro and Gary Sheffield were just a few of the NL reserves. Bernie Williams, Omar Vizquel, Jose Canseco and Derek Jeter were on the AL bench.
Pedro of course highlighted the AL staff. David Cone, Mo Rivera, Mike Mussina, Charles Nagy and Troy Percival were on that staff as well. The NL was pretty loaded. Schilling ironically started and got the loss. Randy Johnson, Trevor Hoffman, Billy Wagner and Mike Hampton were just some of the other NL names.
The funny thing looking back at all these names now is that back then you truly knew who everyone was. If you look at All Star rosters from the last five years there's a ton of names - especially reserves - very few people recognize.
THE TED WILLIAMS MOMENT
Aside from Pedro, this was obviously the other best moment of the night. Ted Williams was driven out and around the field on a cart wearing a Hitters.net hat. It should have been a Sox cap and that's the only blemish on an otherwise incredible moment. His son should never be forgiven for making him wear that hat. It still didn't take away from the looks on players' faces and that was what made it so special.
It really was the final moment Red Sox fans young and old had with Teddy Ballgame. Having the All Century Team on the field at the same time only aded to the uniqueness of it. If you got to witness this live and care about baseball you know this truly was one of the greatest moments in the game's history.
It's hard to believe this was 21-years ago now. The '99 Home Run Derby was also a special night. Between both of them, the '99 ASG should go down as one of the best overall sports weeks in history.