The MLB has been bringing its best players together since 1933 in an annual All Star Game. Since its inception, countless memories have been made, from game-winning hits to final farewells. The game started to gain greater importance in 2003, as the winner began to determine home-field advantage for the World Series. This year's game takes place on July 14 at Great American Ballpark, home to the Cincinnati Reds. Take a look at some of the most memorable moments since 2000 (listed chronologically):
2000: Andres Galarraga receives a standing ovation in his first at bat after non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma forced him to sit out the entirety of the 1999 season. He singled in that at bat and later ended the season as the NL Comeback Player of the Year.
2000: In front of his home crowd in Atlanta, Chipper Jones homered off of James Baldwin to left-center field, bringing the crowd to its feet. Hank Aaron hit a homerun when the last All Star Game was in Atlanta, and he happened to throw out the game’s first pitch.
2001: In Cal Ripken’s final All Star Game, he received an ovation and treated the fans to a home run in route to the MVP. When the AL took the field, Alex Rodriguez, the team’s shortstop, surprised Ripken and gave him the position. Ripken had played third base for his first and last few years of his career, but he helped revolutionize the shortstop position.
2002: Barry Bonds had been the league’s most feared hitter and connected on a deep shot that looked to be a home run. However, Torii Hunter, arguably the league’s best fielder, robbed Bonds of the home run. The game ended up tying, thus it proved to be a pivotal play.
2006: With two outs and two strikes in the top of the 9th down 2-1, Michael Young laced a triple to center field to take a 3-2 lead. Even more impressive, the game-winning hit came off of Trevor Hoffman, who is second in career saves in the MLB.
2007: In a feat never accomplished before, Ichiro destroyed a ball to deep right field that hit off the wall and bounced in a strange direction. The ball hit a banner on the wall, which bounced far away from Ken Griffey Jr., who was playing in right field. This allowed for Ichiro to score an inside-the-park-home run, the first and only in All Star Game history.
2010: On the morning of the 2010 All Star Game, George Steinbrenner, one of the winningest owners ever, passed away. To honor him, there was a pregame video followed by a moment of silence at the stadium that displayed the history and admiration for the longtime Yankees owner.
2013: Mariano Rivera, the all-time saves leader, took the All Star field for the final time of his career before retiring later that year. He came out of the bullpen to “Enter Sandman” and took the field alone out of respect. The entire stadium stood on their feet to pay respect to the future Hall of Famer. He came in and pitched a perfect eight inning as expected.
2014: Just one year after his former teammate’s final game, Derek Jeter also played in his last All Star Game. Jeter went 2-2 with a double and a run, although Adam Wainwright, the pitcher he faced in the first inning, claimed after the game that he gave him easy pitches to hit. He drew some questions of integrity over this, but later claimed that he was joking. Jeter came out of the game in the 4th inning to a standing ovation and hugs from the entire dugout.
2015: Just one season removed from their first World Series trip since 1985, the Kansas City Royals sent four starters to the MLB All Star Game. Though only a couple may be truly deserving, their fans have been voting excessively as a reward for last year’s success. However, their voting has brought controversy and a possible reconsideration of the All Star voting process.