While it may not generate as much buzz as the Home Run Derby or the All-Star Game itself, the Taco Bell Legends and Celebrity Softball Game has consistently been one of All-Star weekend's most fun events for nearly a decade.
Even though score is kept, the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game is about entertainment more than anything. It gives fans a chance to see some of their favorite players, actors, singers and other personalities rub elbows on the diamond, which is something else that no other event can offer.
With Hall of Fame-caliber players such as Rickey Henderson, Mike Piazza, Andre Dawson and others taking part alongside the likes of Chris Rock, Kevin James, George Lopez and a host of other celebrities, it should be an extremely unique game to take in.
Here is everything you need to know about the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, including when and where to watch it as well as the teams that will be taking the field.
Where: Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y.
When: Sunday, July 14 at 5 p.m. ET (televised on Monday, July 15 at 10:30 p.m. ET)
Craig Carton (Radio Personality)
Bernie Williams (MLB)
Rollie Fingers (MLB)
Rickey Henderson (MLB)
Frank Thomas (MLB)
Fred Lynn (MLB)
Chord Overstreet (Actor)
James Denton (Actor)
A.J. Calloway (TV Personality)
Gary Valentine (Actor/Comedian)
Mallory Hagan (Miss America)
Boomer Esiason (NFL/Radio Personality)
John Franco (MLB)
Jennie Finch (Softball Player)
Mike Piazza (MLB)
Darryl Strawberry (MLB)
Ozzie Smith (MLB)
Dwight Gooden (MLB)
Andre Dawson (MLB)
Josh Wege (Wounded Warrior)
Chris Rock (Actor/Comedian)
Kevin James (Actor/Comedian)
George Lopez (Actor/Comedian)
Players to Watch
As one of the most electric players in MLB history, Rickey Henderson is sure to provide the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game with plenty of flair and excitement. Henderson was elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown back in 2009, and it was for good reason, as few who have ever played the game impacted it in as many ways as Henderson did.
In a 25-year career that spanned four different decades, Henderson played for nine clubs and made big plays for all of them. Henderson is Major League Baseball's all-time leader in runs with 2,295 as well as stolen bases with 1,406. He also amassed 297 career home runs and more than 1,000 RBI, which proves that Henderson was much more than just a speed guy.
There generally isn't any base stealing in these types of games, but perhaps an exception will be made for the "Man of Steal" since that is what the fans truly want to see. As a former New York Met and New York Yankee, Henderson is sure to have plenty of crowd support and he'll certainly give the fans something to cheer about.
Frank Thomas has only been retired for a little more than four years, so it probably wouldn't be a stretch to say that the two-time American League MVP is still in pretty good shape. That isn't exactly a prerequisite to play in the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, but Thomas figures to perform at a much higher level than most of his counterparts.
Which team will win the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game?
The 45-year-old Thomas will be eligible for the Hall of Fame's class of 2014, and while he is far from a lock to make it on the first ballot, his numbers certainly seem to suggest that he's worthy. With a career average of .301 along with 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI, Thomas was one of the best pure hitters of his era. Perhaps the only thing that hurts his case is the fact that he was a designated hitter for much of his career.
With all of that said, Thomas is definitely someone worth watching during the softball game. "The Big Hurt" hit some monster home runs in his day and he will be a threat to launch one out of the park each and every time he steps up to the plate at Citi Field. Thomas shouldn't have much trouble clearing the temporary fence that will be set up, but it will be interesting to see if he can actually hit one into the seats.
As one of the greatest Mets of all time, there is no question that Mike Piazza will receive a standing ovation from the Citi Field crowd when he takes the field for the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game. Much like Thomas, Piazza hasn't been out of the game for too long, as he retired following the 2007 season, so he should be able to put on a show.
Piazza will go down as one of the most prolific hitting catchers of all time with career totals of 427 home runs and 1,335 RBI to go along with a sterling .308 batting average. He never had the chance to play at Citi Field as the Mets were still nestled in Shea Stadium when he left for the San Diego Padres in 2006, but Piazza will likely feel at home regardless.
Piazza will be batting in the middle of the order for the National League, which is something he is very familiar with. He also figures to be a big-time home run threat every time he bats, so it seems likely that the game will feature some offensive fireworks. Piazza will also catch in all likelihood, and while he was never known as a defensive standout, he probably won't be asked to do much behind the plate as he forms a battery with Jennie Finch.
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