Most fans will be looking forward to the 2014 MLB All-Star Game, but on Sunday, July 13, another exciting tradition will be rekindled during the MLB All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game.
Some of the biggest names in baseball history will join forces with some of the top personalities from other sports and from the world of entertainment in a celebrity softball game. With the event taking place in Minnesota, there is a local feel to the stars participating.
Here is the full list of participants and the star to watch on Sunday.
|2014 MLB All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game Roster|
|Players||Claim to Fame|
|Andy Cohen||TV Host|
|Andre Dawson||MLB Legend|
|Chris Distefano||TV Host|
|Jennie Finch||Softball Legend|
|Rollie Fingers||MLB Legend|
|Dwight Gooden||MLB Legend|
|Rickey Henderson||MLB Legend|
|Melanie Iglesias||TV Host|
|Fred Lynn||MLB Legend|
|Maya Moore||WNBA Player|
|Jack Morris||Twins Broadcaster|
|Zach Parise||NHL Player|
|Adrian Peterson||NFL Player|
|Mike Piazza||MLB Legend|
|Ozzie Smith||MLB Legend|
|John Smoltz||MLB Legend|
|Jim Thome||MLB Legend|
|Andrew Zimmern||TV Host|
Star to Watch: Jim Thome
There are few baseball players to ever grace the major leagues who made an impact on more lives than former first baseman and designated hitter Jim Thome.
As a former member of the Minnesota Twins, Thome was a perfect fit for this celebrity softball game.
Thome only spent a year and a half with Minnesota, but like every team he played for, he became a fan favorite and an example of how to play baseball the right way. With country-born strength and a positive attitude, Thome was a great leader in any locker room.
KARE-TV Sports Director Eric Perkins talked about his excitement to see Thome in the softball game but pondered if he could be doing more during the festivities:
When asked about bringing back stars from the past, Twins President Dave St. Peter told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com about the franchise’s efforts with its alumni:
I think the history and the tradition is always something that's always been important to us. I think you try to accentuate that when you have opportunities such as Opening Day, the postseason or an All-Star Game. At the end of the day, it's a celebration of baseball, but also about the history of the players in that town, and you can't do that without the Olivas, or the Carews, or the Hrbeks or even the Radkes and Mientkiewiczs.
Thome has not played in the majors since 2012, but he put together an amazing career. He spent 22 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles and the Twins.
Over the course of his career, Thome belted 612 home runs, added another 1,699 RBI and made the All-Star team five times. The crowd will explode when Thome’s name is called Sunday, and it will be a feel-good moment for the franchise and the player.
Thome isn’t too far removed from his career, either, which will make him a very dangerous player in the softball game. While he is one of the most genuine people in the sport, he has a competitive side and will unleash it on the celebrity game.
It wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Thome put one in the seats for old time's sake.
*Stats via MLB.com.