He's played in two, announced two others and seen all the All-Star Games in between.

Tim McCarver will be there again Tuesday at 8, at Wrigley Field in Chicago with Jack Buck, when CBS broadcasts the game's midseason showcase. And maybe he'll share some of his own recollections.

"The memories of the two I played in are the most vivid," said the former catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals. "I was 24 in the first one. I was star struck. I walked around and looked at the players in the clubhouse in a sense of awe, even though I'd played against them."

The single image McCarver carries from that game centered on Sandy Koufax, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Hall of Fame pitcher.

The game was being played at St. Louis' new Busch Stadium. "It was 112 degrees out, and Casey Stengel remarked that the stadium held the heat well. And there in the clubhouse -- and keep in mind how hot it was -- there was Koufax putting on an ointment a lot of ball players use."

The ointment is so strong and heats the area to which it's applied so intensely that most players dilute it, McCarver said. But there was Koufax, the ace left-handed pitcher, applying the ointment, uncut, on a 112-degree day. "He applied it up his pitching arm and down his back. He had it on full strength. That just wasn't done, except maybe on a cold day." That scene took on added meaning when Koufax later retired prematurely with an arm problem.

McCarver played major league baseball from 1959 to 1980. Now, at 47, married 26 years and with two grown daughters, he is regarded as one of the game's foremost announcers. Baseball fans with cable TV have enjoyed his work as the analyst for New York Mets games on the WWOR superstation. Now he teams with Buck as well for CBS's roster of games.

His transition from field to booth began before his playing days were over, in one of those scenarios that is a peculiar combination of good luck disguised as bad.

"I had a show with {former Phillie} Richie Ashburn in 1970 when I was traded from the Cardinals," McCarver recalled. "I thought it would interfere with my play, but it didn't -- I was out four months with a broken hand. And I was terrible. Richie and I still joke about that. I was supposed to relate my on-field experience, and I wasn't playing."

But it was broadcast experience, however flawed, and McCarver stored it up. Later, he would fail at auditions, but a friend in Philadelphia encouraged him to keep at it. "You don't just try it," he said. "You go into it full speed. That early experience planted the seed."

As one of few players to perform in parts of four decades, and now extending his baseball connection into yet another, McCarver has seen the game change dramatically, on the field and in the booth.

"One of the distressing things is how the game is played now," he said. "The players are better than 20 years ago, and I played with Mays, Aaron and Musial. Today they're bigger, stronger and faster -- but they don't play the game as well."

And television has changed the way the game is perceived by the fans, he said, and has robbed the players of anyplace to hide.

"TV gets right into players' souls," said McCarver. "Fans are apprised of every detail that could make a player a better player. You know everything about the guy. Thirty years ago there was more of a mystery about players."

McCarver helps take some of that mystery away from the game's strategy. And not everyone appreciates it. Davey Johnson, the recently fired Mets manager, accused him of getting Bill Robinson dismissed as a Mets coach.

McCarver believes outfielders are often positioned poorly in the field -- and never hesitates to say so. Robinson was in charge of deploying the Mets outfield, and Johnson claimed that McCarver's on-air comments got him fired. "I was flattered," said McCarver, "that Davey thought I had that much power."