The All Star break is upon us in the International League. It’s a nice three day break, unless you are taking part in it. For the good people of Lehigh Valley, it’s the culmination of years of preparation. The I.L. and the Pacific Coast League alternate hosting the midsummer classic. Stars from both leagues gather and strut their stuff for a night in the spotlight. Bubba Bell will be the lone PawSox representative, since Robert Manuel is up with Boston. The game was held at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket in 2004. It was my first year back with the PawSox and it was amazing to watch all the hard work pay off so handsomely. Playing in the game doesn’t guarantee baseball immortality, however. I took a look back at the rosters of the 2004 All Stars, with the research help of Adam Giardino. Thought you’d be interested to see where some of the stars wound up. We’ll start with the I.L.
Buddy Bailey, manager- Buddy was fired by the Red Sox at the end of that 2004 season. He continues to work in the Cubs organization and is a legend in Venezuela, wher he manages winter ball.
Mike Griffin, pitching coach- Griff is the pitching coach for the Norfolk Tides. Luckily, we get to see him a couple of times a year. He was the longest tenured pitching coch in PawSox history.
Tim Kester, rhp- Kester is retired from baseball and works for the federal government in South Florida.
Earl Snyder, 3b- Snyder had a magical 2004 season, setting many PawSox records along the way. Snyder earned a World Series ring for his appearances in Boston that year. The native of Connecticut played in a total of 19 M.L. games.
Andy Dominique, c- “Dommer” wound up playing in 9 M.L. games for Boston.
Jesse Crain, rhp- set Minnesota record for most consecutive wins for a relief pitcher before a loss (12). pitched for Canada in the WBC in ’06 and ’09.
Dan Giese, rhp- The former Red Sox draftee (1999) was traded to San Francisco in 2002 for Alan Embree. Briefly quit baseball to sell cars. pitched for Yankees, A’s and Giants.
Alex Graman, lhp- Closer for the Seibu Lions.
Matt Whiteside, rhp- Once served as a judge for MIss USA pageant. in 2005 was suspended for violating minor league steroid policy.
Dane Sardinha, c- continues to play. currently with Philadelphia. Has also played for Reds and Tigers.
Jorge Cantu, if- successful M.L. career. Tampa Bay ’04-’07, Reds ’07, Fla ’08-present. June 23, 2010- hit his 100th M.L. home run. In 2008, he combined with Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla and Mike Jacobs to become the first infield ever with at least 25 HR each. Has 10 HR and 50 rbi so far in 2010.
Justin Morneau, 1b- became Twins starting 1b when Doug Mientkiewicz was traded to Boston. 4 time American League All Star and 2006 A.L. MVP. Won All Star game HR derby in 2008.
Andy Phillips, 1b- MVP of the 2004 Triple A All Star game. Yankees farmhand hit walk off home run to win it. During postgame interview, I told him that it would be the only time he’d ever be cheered at McCoy. He laughed. A few weeks later he and the Clippers came to to McCoy and he was loudly booed. Played parts of 5 years in MLB.
Corey Hart, of- 2 time member of 20/20 club (’07, ’08) and two time N.L. All Star (including 2010).
Pacific Coast League
Scott Atchison, rhp- Currently in Red Sox bullpen. Gave up game winning homer to Phillips. When he arrived at McCoy this spring, said it was the first time he’d been back since.
Dan Haren, rhp- PCL starting pitcher in ’04 ASG. Former A’s pitcher, three time N.L. All Star with Diamondbacks
Wil Nieves, c- 7 ML seasons with Padres, Yankees and Nationals. In 2007, was Mike Mussina’s “personal catcher”.
Clint Barmes, ss- Was a PCL All Star in ’07, as well. in April 2005, hit .410 (3d rookie in ML history) On June 5, 2005 he broke his collarbone, falling down the stairs while carrying a package of venison that was a gift from Todd Helton.
Bucky Jacobsen, 1b- Winner of the Triple A All Star game home run derby at McCoy. Hit a ball through the windshield of a WPRI TV 12 news truck. Injuries derailed his career. The behemoth is on Seattle TV as part of the Mariners broadcasts.
John Gall, of- Parts of three seasons in ML baseball. Hit a home run for the US in the 2006 Olympics against Taiwan. Led to an appearance on Oprah and an invitation to the White House. Was also a guest of honor to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Adam Riggs, of- one of dozens named in the Mitchell Report for alleged steroid use. In 2003, wore an Angels jersey with the team name spelled incorrectly on the front “Angees”.
There’s a look at some of the participants from that great day in July of 2004. Six years ago in some ways, in other ways- a lifetime.