07/14/2004 12:36 AM ET
Harvey relishes experience
Royals first baseman enjoyed his time in Houston
HOUSTON -- The stage couldn't have been set any better for Ken Harvey in his All-Star Game debut.
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
The 26-year-old Kansas City Royals first baseman, the only representative from his club at the 75th Midsummer Classic in Minute Maid Park, didn't start the game but was given a pretty sweet opportunity to make his mark on it.
In the top of the third inning, with the American League already up, 6-1, and Arizona Diamondbacks lefty Randy Johnson on the mound, the bottom portion of the lineup got a bit of a rally going.
Jason Giambi shot a single up the middle, Derek Jeter singled to right and Alfonso Soriano singled into left field to load the bases.
AL starter Mark Mulder was the next hitter at No. 9, but manager Joe Torre decided to get a big right-handed bat into the situation and called on Harvey in a pinch-hitting situation.
It seemed like a good move.
Harvey earned selection into the All-Star Game by having a very solid first half, including a .305 batting average, 10 homers and 34 RBIs. Also intriguing was the fact that Harvey was 1-for-3 in his career against the Big Unit.
Harvey's at-bat had a promising start. He took two pitches and got ahead to a 2-and-0 count.
But it went downhill from there relatively quickly, with Johnson getting Harvey to foul off the next pitch, a fastball right down the middle.
"That was my cookie," Harvey said. "I got my cookie right there and I missed it. And that's the name of the game."
On the next pitch, Johnson got a called strike two with a fastball that Harvey said he thought was low.
"It was a little down, but that's Randy Johnson," Harvey said. "That's the way it's going to be."
Johnson then struck Harvey out swinging with a slider, ending Harvey's first All-Star Game.
He never got a chance to play in the field, with Torre sticking with Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi, who was voted in as a starter.
But despite the not-so-pleasant statistical side of the evening, Harvey said he had a great time.
"I'm just happy to be here," Harvey said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity. I was a fan this weekend, but I just got a better experience than the ones in the seats.
"I got to talk to all these great players, and they all told me that I deserved to be here. That's a special feeling. It's something I won't forget."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.