7/10/01: 2001 All-Star Game @ Safeco Field, Seattle

MLB Vault
National League 1 at American League 4, F — There was magic in the crisp Seattle air at 2001 Midsummer Classic, as Cal Ripken prepared for his 19th and final All-Star Game. Everyone in attendance at Safeco Field (and watching at home) knew history was in the making. As the teams took the field, starting shortstop Alex Rodriguez very publicly gestured to Ripken to move over to his original position at short, motioning that he, Alex, would play third base (foreshadowing his switch with the Yankees some years later). As the crowd cheered them on, Cal, slightly embarrassed, agreed to the switch. In the third inning, as Ripken strode to the plate to the theme from “The Natural,” the fans gave Cal one of the longest standing ovations ever. Minutes later, post-ovation, Cal stepped into the batters box swung at the first pitch from Chan Ho Park amid a sea of flashbulbs, and it sailed over the left field wall. Another heartfelt tribute from the fans ushered him around the bases. Prior to the sixth inning, Commissioner Bud Selig presented Ripken and Tony Gwynn, who was also retiring after the season, with the Commissioners’ Historic Achievement Award. The award, which was created in 1998, is presented at the commissioner’s discretion to any player whose body of work is in itself historical or any player who sets a record of historical significance. Cal put the final touches on his last All-Star game by holding the MVP trophy aloft. A fitting ending indeed.

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