-The 1999 All-Star Game began with one of those moments that New Englanders will pass from one generation to the next. They will tell how an aging and frail Ted Williams returned to Fenway Park for a tribute that turned into an incredible outpouring of love and affection.
They will tell of seeing Williams spontaneously surrounded by dozens of the best players in history and how current stars such as Mark McGwire and Tony Gwynn were so moved that they didn't want to leave the field. They will tell of the hugs and the tears, and how Williams tipped his hat before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
They may also tell how Pedro Martinez -- the newest hero of Red Sox Nation -- followed Williams to the mound and turned in one of the most dominating performances in all-star history. And as an afterthought, they may remember that the American League defeated the National League, 4-1, in front of 34,187.
On a night dominated by pitching, the AL scratched out two runs in the first inning and two more in the fourth. Baltimore Orioles third baseman Cal Ripken drove in what turned out to be the winning run with a single in the bottom of the first inning.
Martinez, who set the tone by striking out the NL in order in the first inning, was named the game's most valuable player. He became the first pitcher in all-star history to strike out the first four hitters he faced. He struck out five of six overall, allowing one base runner, that on an error by Indians second baseman Roberto Alomar.
"He's got three devastating pitches," said McGwire, the Cardinals' first baseman. "What can you say? He's the best pitcher in the game."
Martinez set the tone for an evening when there were more strikeouts (22) than hits (13), when no hitter came close to the Green Monster. Seven American League pitchers limited the National Leaguers to seven hits, beginning with Martinez and finishing with Texas closer John Wetteland. Four of the seven hits were off Yankees pitcher David Cone, who also allowed the National League run.
"I would challenge anybody to score runs off that pitching staff -- if that's the pitching you had to face every time you came to Fenway," Reds shortstop Barry Larkin said.
National League Manager Bruce Bochy used nine pitchers, including starter Curt Schilling, who allowed two runs in two innings. The other American League runs came off Cardinals right-hander Kent Bottenfield in the bottom of the fourth inning.
But it was the beginning -- and the tribute to Williams -- that will be remembered. "It was an emotional time," McGwire said. "What a man. He's loved in Boston -- and all over baseball."
Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra said: "They wanted us to leave the field, and everyone said no. It was one of those things where everyone appreciated they were part of something special."
Before Williams entered the field, two dozen of the greatest players of all time were introduced to promote balloting for an all-century team. Then, shortly after the 1999 rosters were announced, fans roared as Williams entered the field on a golf cart and made a lap around the field, tipping his hat and smiling. "I thought the place was going to explode," Martinez said. "It was incredible."
Williams was wheeled to an area behind the mound, and then, in an unplanned gesture of affection and respect, the retired greats and the 1999 all-stars gathered around him to shake his hand and whisper words of encouragement.
"That's the chance of a lifetime," Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro said. "The game can wait. It was a big moment. I wanted to keep it going."
Tears streamed down Williams's face as he chatted with one player after another, spending extra time with Ripken and McGwire.
Williams, with some assistance, left his golf cart, and wound up a few times before making the ceremonial toss to Carlton Fisk, who was also crying. "I can only describe it as great," Williams said. "It didn't surprise me all that much because I know how these fans are here in Boston. They love this game as much as any players."
Once the field was cleared, the rest of the night was almost anticlimactic. As Rockies outfielder Larry Walker said: "What an honor to be standing on the field with Ted Williams and all the other great players. I was extremely honored to be there."
Perhaps only Martinez and his combination of 95-mph heat and the game's best change-up could have made the remainder of the evening interesting. He opened the game by striking out Larkin on an unhitable change-up, then got Walker on a fastball. He finished the inning by setting up Sammy Sosa with a breaking ball, then striking him out on a fastball.
Martinez opened the second by striking out McGwire. Diamondbacks third baseman Matt Williams became the only National Leaguer to hit the ball against Martinez. He reached base when Alomar bobbled the ball. That was as far as he got as Martinez finished his appearance by striking out Jeff Bagwell. Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez threw out Williams on an attempted steal of second for the final out.
"That's Pedro Martinez," Walker said. "He's probably the top pitcher in the game and probably will be for a while. I was already pretty nervous. I was just looking to see the ball. I didn't see it. I don't think I felt my fingers or my arms warming up. I was in awe of the whole situation. I struck out and hit a comebacker to the mound, and I'm pretty proud of it."
Schilling had a tougher time, allowing two runs in the first. Kenny Lofton opened the game by beating out an infield single, in part, because Schilling was a bit slow getting to first base to take the throw from McGwire. Schilling got the next two outs, but walked Manny Ramirez. Jim Thome singled home Lofton for a 1-0 lead, and Ripken singled home Ramirez to make it 2-0.
After Martinez departed, Cone entered and allowed the NL's run on a single by Larkin after Jeromy Burnitz had doubled with one out.
Barry Larkin struck out swinging
Larry Walker struck out looking
Sammy Sosa struck out swinging
Mark McGwire struck out swinging
Matt Williams reached base on an error
Jeff Bagwell struck out swinging, Williams thrown out trying to steal second
The teams combined for 22 strikeouts, an all-star game record.
It was the first time the first three batters in an all-star game had struck out.
Martinez tied an AL record with his five strikeouts and became the first AL starter to win an all-star game in his own park.
CAPTION: Pedro Martinez fans first 4 batters and finishes with 5 strikeouts. "He's the best pitcher in the game," Mark McGwire said.
CAPTION: AL shortstop Nomar Garciaparra gets hug from Yankees' Derek Jeter. Jim Thome, Cal Ripken, Rafael Palmeiro and Roberto Alomar drove in runs for AL.
CAPTION: Mark McGwire returns to dugout after second-inning strikeout against AL starter Pedro Martinez. The Cardinals' first baseman was 0 for 2 with a walk.
CAPTION: Mark McGwire missed this pitch to become Pedro Martinez's fourth strikeout victim.