ESPN MLB commentators share favorite All-Star Game memories

(L-R) National League players Rafael Furcal, Javy Lopez, Richie Sexson, Aaron Boone and Geoff Jenkins during the 2003 All-Star Game. (Photo credit: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)
In 2003, future ESPN analyst Aaron Boone (second from right) joined Geoff Jenkins (far right) and fellow National League players (l-r) Rafael Furcal, Javy Lopez, and Richie Sexson at the 2003 MLB All-Star Game.
(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The 84th MLB All-Star Game is set for tonight with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio. Throughout the day, SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight will be on site at Citi Field with updates from Karl Ravech, Baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, Curt Schilling, Tim Kurkjian and Buster Olney.

ESPN’s deep bench of MLB analysts have participated in a total of 36 All-Star Games. To celebrate the Midsummer Classic, Front Row asked several ESPN MLB commentators about their favorite All-Star memories.

Analyst Rick Sutcliffe participated in three All-Star games, but recalled his first appearance in 1983 as his favorite moment.

“At that point, the [National League] had won 11 straight games. It was the 50th All-Star game and it was hosted in Chicago. [Former Boston Red Sox star] Fred Lynn hit the grand slam, the only one that’s ever been hit, I think. That would have to be at the top of all my All-Star moments. My first one — and then to win it and the way we won it — that was pretty cool,” he said.

For analyst Aaron Boone, sharing the All-Star stage in 2003 with his brother, Bret, and becoming part of baseball’s first three-generation All-Star family was a moment he’ll never forget. It was Boone’s lone All-Star appearance.

“In 2003, I was named to my first All-Star game and Geoff Jenkins, one of my best friends and college teammates, was named to his first, too,” he recalled. “We finished the first half in Milwaukee, close to Chicago where the All-Star game was that year, so we got to ride down together after the first half ended and just kind of pinch ourselves. The realization that we were really driving to an All-Star game was an incredibly special feeling.

“And then, I had my whole family there — my wife, my mom, my dad and my grandparents. One of my favorite pictures that I have is my brother Bret in the [American League] jersey, with me playing for the NL, my grandpa [former MLB infielder Ray Boone] and my dad [former MLB catcher Bob Boone] at U.S. Cellular Field. It was just a really special few days for me and something I’ll never forget.”

It was also a family affair for ESPN analyst Alex Cora, whose favorite moment was when his brother Joey made the All-Star team in 1997.

“Of course, it was special because he made it but eight Puerto Ricans made that team between the NL and the AL. It was a special day. It was amazing for our country,” he recalled.

For ESPN MLB Insider Tim Kurkjian, who has covered All-Star games for three decades and will serve as reporter during tonight’s coverage on ESPN Radio, nothing compares to the 1999 All-Star Game in Boston.

“Ted Williams came out before the game in a wheelchair and not surprisingly, Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn started the process of all the All-Star players gathering around Ted Williams just to talk to him. And it was one of the best moments I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Those players were completely in awe of a guy who hadn’t played in forty years. And then the game started and Pedro Martinez was seemingly throwing 150 mph and striking everyone out. I’ll never forget it.”

Additionally, analyst Chris Singleton, who will call the All-Star Game tonight with Jon Sciambi for ESPN Radio, said his favorite memory is Torii Hunter robbing Barry Bonds of a home run in 2002.

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