All hail the 1977 National League All-Star Team! Never mind that they beat the American League 7-5 at Yankee Stadium, for a) they were the most colorful bunch ever assembled on one team to judge by the Pantone rainbow formed by their road uniforms and b) they won despite the inability to look directly into a camera. Or perhaps whoever chose official photos was blinking when he picked this as the team picture. Maybe four guys in all are focused on the camera, though one of them, sort of, is honorary captain Willie Mays (a Met forever from then on out, you would have thought). No wonder Willie still wows ’em, even on the West Coast.
With next week’s All-Star Game taking place at the same facility as it did 31 years ago, the YES Network is showing the ’77 Starfest over and over (check local listings that you’d normally not be caught dead checking). The NBC telecast is a great time capsule, particularly given that in the introductions, the greatest applause goes to not Willie Mays, not honorary A.L. captain Joe DiMaggio, not to any of the multiple Yankees on the other side (Reggie Jackson actually gets booed), not even to ramrod-straight John Stearns or helper coach Denny Sommers, on loan from the Mets. No, the people in Yankee Stadium go absolutely nuts for Tom Seaver, five weeks removed from his dastardly trade to Cincinnati. In the above picture, he appears to be telling Willie Montañez, “…and then I’d string M. Donald Grant up the flagpole as high as I could.”
At one point in the game, Seaver is pitching (though not well) and he is supported in the field by four future Mets: Montañez, Ellis Valentine, Jerry Morales and Garry Templeton. That makes five future Mets at once because Seaver, he comes back to us eventually. Also on the team, if you’re not too blinded by the picture to examine it closely, are John Candelaria and George Foster, giving us seven Mets to be in one fell swoop. (Over on the American League page, you’d find 1992 Met second baseman Willie Randolph as well.)
See, that’s the problem. It’s fun to think of the N.L. All-Stars as a Mets farm club, but shouldn’t we be getting the talented guys as they’re becoming All-Stars, not incredibly long after the fact?
P.S. David Wright did not gain the Final Vote nod, so unless Clint Hurdle names him to replace somebody at the last minute, you are officially excused from watching the 2008 affair; if you’re thinking you should tune in out of habit or baseball fan obligation, this bizarre pinstriped wet dream of a column by Bob Klapisch should change your mind like a soft rain.
UPDATE: David’s a Star after all…named to replace the injured Alfonso Soriano.
And in all seriousness, our best to Bob Klapisch for a speedy recovery from a tough break.