07/10/07 9:52 PM ET
Notes: Ripken reminisces on Classic
Veteran of 19 All-Star Games recalls playing to win exhibition
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Baseball's original Hammer retired in 1975 with 573 homers -- all but 14 for the Washington Senators-Minnesota Twins -- which at the time ranked fifth all-time. Now, he sits in ninth place, in range of several more active players."I keep going the wrong way," Killebrew said. "I'll have to come back and hit a few more." Post-Derby depression? Vladimir Guerrero and Alex Rios -- who formed the first all-AL Derby finals since 1998, when Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. and Jeromy Burnitz of the Brewers (then in the AL Central) squared off -- shouldn't be overly concerned about the competition fouling up their distance swings. Despite some disturbing evidence to the contrary, there is no historical proof of a Derby downer. Yes, Bobby Abreu has hit a total of 26 homers in the two years since his 2005 explosion. And after being a 2006 finalist, David Wright went from 20 homers in the first half to six in the second. But that's as far back as the spiral goes. Rios pulled into the break with 17 homers, and Guerrero entered with 14. Torii tribute: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter regaled the media at Monday afternoon's mixer in a black blazer with a gold-hyena emblem on the right breast and the legend, "Always prey on the weakest link." A fan of the game show? Hardly; an admirer of a predecessor as Minnesota center fielder, Kirby Puckett, who would encourage teammates to "play like hyenas." Etcetera: While Ivan Rodriguez's 14th All-Star appearance as a catcher only tied the record held by Yogi Berra, his 12th start was a new record, topping Berra's 11. ... Boston lefty reliever Hideki Okajima, the first rookie winner of the online Monster All-Star Final Vote, is the only first-year player among this year's 64 All-Stars. ... Devil Rays outfielder Carl Crawford is the first Tampa Bay player ever to make multiple All-Star appearances; he was also a member of the AL squad in 2004.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.