Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org
By Jeremy Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO — It is hard to believe that it has been nearly 11 years since AT&T Park hosted their only All-Star Game.
Yes, it will be best remembered for Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners hitting the inside-the-park home run, as the American League defeated the National League 5-3 before a crowd of 43,965 at AT&T Park.
Just two days prior to the Midsummer Classic, the Minor Leaguers were on Center Stage, or the baseball field, as they showed off their skills under San Francisco Giants legend Orlando Cepeda and Dave Winfield, who was born on the same day (October 3, 1951) that Bobby Thomson hit “The Shot Heard Round the World” home run off of Ralph Branca to give the New York Giants a 5-3 victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers that propelled the Giants to the World Series, where they lost to the New York Yankees.
There were some notable players on the field on that Sunday afternoon in July of 2007 that have made a big splash on the game since then.
Joey Votto, who would go onto win a National Most Valuable Player Award for the Cincinnati Reds, hit a home run for the World Team off of future Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz, as the World team defeated the U.S. team 7-2.
Clayton Kershaw, a multi-time Cy Young Award winner for the Los Angeles Dodgers gave up a home run to James Van Ostrand to give the World team a commanding 6-2 lead in the top of the seventh inning.
“I took a good swing and got a good pitch to hit,” Votto said. “It was a fun day. I had a good time. I just had an awesome timeplaying with all these guys. I love playing with these guys. Playing against the U.S. team was just fun. Great stadium and thefans were awesome.”
Justin Upton put the U.S. on the board, as he hit a solo home run off of Faustino De Los Santos in the bottom of the third inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who played in six games for the Boston Red Sox prior to getting sent to the minors on the Friday prior to the game replaced Cameron Maybin of the Detroit Tigers, who was unable to play due to an injury.
“It’s been a crazy week,” Ellsbury said. “It means a lot tome to play with these guys. There are a lot of guys who will be inthe big leagues in the near future.”
There were players with Giants ties then and now, as current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria played for the U.S. team, as he represented the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez played for the World team, as he was a member of the Detroit Tigers organization and was later named the Midwest League Most Valuable Player, while playing for the West Michigan Whitecaps.
Both Brian Bocock and Henry Sosa played in the game, as they represented the Giants’ organization. Bocock and Sosa played for San Jose that season.
ESPN.com contributed to this story.