19 Jul

all-star nuggets

The last time Dodger Stadium hosted an All-Star Game, Grenada native Dave Parker started in right field for the National League, which won 4-2 to take a 32-18-1 lead in the series. That was 1980 — and, my, how things have changed. The American League takes a 46-43-2 lead into tonight’s game. … Tim Anderson (East Central Community College) will start at shortstop for the AL and Austin Riley (DeSoto Central High) will come off the bench for the Nationals in tonight’s game, but they won’t be the only Mississippians to take the field in Los Angeles. Brookhaven native Lance Barksdale, a veteran MLB umpire, will work first base in his second All-Star Game assignment. … Riley is one of five former Mississippi Braves on the NL’s active roster, joining Ronald Acuna, William Contreras, Dansby Swanson (all with Atlanta) and Freddie Freeman (now the Dodgers). Max Fried was named to the team but will not pitch. Brian Snitker, the M-Braves’ first manager in 2005, will run the NL squad. Former Biloxi Shuckers star Devin Williams of Milwaukee also is on the NL roster. … Acuna, who will start in right field and bat leadoff, hit a 472-foot bomb completely out of Dodger Stadium — a very rare feat — during Monday’s Home Run Derby. … Venerable Dodger Stadium, which formally opened in 1962, underwent a $100 million renovation in 2019-20 under the direction of Jackson native Janet Marie Smith, the club’s Senior Vice President of Planning and Development. The All-Star Game was to have been played there in 2020 but was rescheduled to this year. Smith, a Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer, called her work “less of a renovation … than it is a reimagining of how these buildings come together.” A new plaza beyond center field makes it a more fan-friendly, fan-accessible facility. … Thirty years ago, in the 1992 All-Star Game at San Diego, former Mississippi State star Will Clark hit his only home run in six All-Star appearances. Clark, then with San Francisco, took former Jackson Mets pitcher Rick Aguilera deep for a three-run homer in the eighth inning of the AL’s 13-6 victory. Clark went 5-for-13 in All-Star Games. … Twenty years ago, in the 2002 Midsummer Classic at Milwaukee, Jackson Generals alum Freddy Garcia, then with Seattle, got the last six outs for the AL (in innings 10 and 11) in the infamous 7-7 tie that created such an inexplicable uproar. Former Gens star Lance Berkman, with Houston at the time, drove in two runs for the NL. … William and Willson Contreras are the latest brother act in the All-Star Game, a list that includes Pascagoula native Harry Walker and brother Dixie (born in Alabama) in 1947. Harry Walker started in center field and led off for the NL, with Dixie playing right and hitting second. Harry, who won a World Series with St. Louis in 1946, was traded to Philadelphia early in ’47, made the All-Star Game for the second time and went on to win the NL batting title. … Trivia time: Who was the first Mississippi native to make an All-Star Game? Ellisville’s Buddy Myer of the Washington Senators was on the AL roster for the 1935 game — the third one played — but he didn’t get on the field.

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