07/08/07 7:02 PM ET
Marichal cherishes his Futures role
Hall of Fame pitcher considers it an honor to manage prospects
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
"I never imagined I'd be in the Futures Game," said Sosa, speaking through an interpreter. "It means a lot to me. I want to be somebody famous like Juan Marichal."
Fittingly, Sosa, who compiled a 6-0 record with an 0.73 ERA for low-Class A Augusta this season before being promoted to high-Class A San Jose, pitched a perfect fourth inning for the World in its 7-2 victory over the U.S.Marichal, 69, uses more than just his reputation to influence players. He frequently provides pitching tips at a baseball academy operated by a cousin of his in Santo Domingo. From 1996-2000, he took an active role in his nation's welfare as Minister of Sports in the Dominican. Asked if he felt a sense of responsibility to his would-be proteges, Marichal said, "You have to. There are so many eyes on you, from so many kids. You become an idol. When I was a kid, I used to have idols. That's why you have to conduct yourself the right way." A check of the rosters for Tuesday's All-Star Game reflects the legacy Marichal and his peers have left. Of the 64 Major League participants, 26 are foreign-born. Marichal cited Ozzie Virgil, who became the first Dominican to reach the Majors in 1956, along with Felipe Alou, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Clemente as figures who hastened the inevitable creation of baseball's melting pot. "They opened the door for the young generation," Marichal said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.