Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stadium steals hall of famers

The 79th All-Star Game staged a pre-game ceremony that befit the status of Yankee Stadium as close to 50 Hall of Famers gathered with modern-day stars on Tuesday and paid tribute to a building that has played home to 26 World Series champions.

Current Yankees stars Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera received thunderous ovations, and receptions almost as warm greeted Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson and Rich "Goose" Gossage.

"No question (the ceremony) was above and beyond," Jeter said. "The ceremonies were great."

The 40-minute ceremony concluded with a rare appearance from Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who rode in on a golf cart from the outfield and was greeted at the pitcher's mound by the four Yankee Hall of Famers, who jointly threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

"New York does it the best," Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said.

Yankee Stadium, which originally opened in 1923, will close after this season. Major League Baseball chose the ballpark for this year's All-Star Game, making it the first stadium to host the Midsummer Classic in its final season.

Over the public address system, Fox broadcaster Joe Buck called it the "greatest collection of baseball's All-Stars ever assembled on one field."

Following the introductions of the reserves, the Hall of Famers made a grand entrance through the left-centre field gate and took their place behind their respective positions on the field. When the starters for the contest were introduced, they took their place alongside the Hall of Famers.

"You want to talk to all of them at the same time, you're pretty giddy," Rodriguez said of his jog out to third base. "That's as good as it gets. Twenty or 30 years from now I'll look back and say, 'Wow.'"

The pitchers in attendance were Steve Carlton, Dennis Eckersley, Bob Feller, Rollie Fingers, Bob Gibson, Ferguson Jenkins, Juan Marichal, Phil Niekro, Jim Palmer, Gaylord Perry, Robin Roberts, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, Gossage and Ford.

The Hall of Famers at first base were Orlando Cepeda, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Murray, Tony Perez and Willie McCovey, while the second basemen were Rod Carew, Bill Mazeroski and Ryne Sandberg.

No comments: