SAN DIEGO -- The specter of free agency haunted every corner of Jack Murphy Stadium last night. More than half of the American League starting lineup could jump ship at the end of the season, along with National League starter Barry Bonds and six other All-Stars.
Bonds, Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken and Minnesota Twins outfielder Kirby Puckett have gotten the bulk of the attention over their unsettled contracts, but the unsigned All-Star starters also include Oakland Athletics first baseman Mark McGwire, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Joe Carter and Boston Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs.
The All-Star reserves in the same situation include Milwaukee Brewers designated hitter Paul Molitor, A's stopper Dennis Eckersley, Texas Rangers outfielder Ruben Sierra, Chicago Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux, St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith and San Diego Padres catcher Benito Santiago.
All of them will command major money, so look for many to head for greener passbooks.
"We realize the circumstances now and the circumstances in October may be different," Molitor said yesterday. "Each one of us hopes he will have a better idea of his individual situation by then."
Griffey and son
When Ken Griffey Jr. homered off Maddux in the third inning, he and father Ken Griffey Sr. became the first father-son duo to homer in All-Star competition. The elder Griffey homered in the 1980 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.
"I was home and I was watching it on TV," Griffey Jr., said. "I was in the living room and I called it when he hit it. I never envisioned that I would hit one in the All-Star Game, too."
Gwynn makes mark with glove
Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn is known for his bat, but he tied a record with two outfield assists, one of them with the throw that gunned down Ripken at second base in the first inning.
"Defensively, I've really tried to improve myself," Gwynn said. "I had a lot of help from the shortstops on those plays tonight. You work on that play in practice and hope that it works in a game. It just happened to work in the All-Star Game."
Gwynn went hitless in two at-bats, but he had fun playing in front of the home crowd, anyway.
"It was a blast," he said. "Losing the way we did isn't fun, but it was great for me personally. The fans really showed their appreciation for what I've done here for the last 10 years."
The sellout crowd at Jack Murphy Stadium was not very pleased to see President Bush taking part in the first-ball ceremony. Bush was booed heavily when he escorted Hall of Famer Ted Williams onto the field before the game.
Williams was introduced first and got a lusty ovation, but the cheersturned to boos when it was announced that he would be joined by his "good friend" Bush. The boos turned back into cheers when Williams completed the first-ball ceremony.
It was no coincidence that Bush showed up at the only event that figured to compete with the Democratic National Convention last night. He was joined at the game by Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
Future All-Star site
Florida Marlins president Carl Barger is pushing to bring the 1996 All-Star Game to Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium. Barger is on the All-Star committee, so he figures to have some clout. The games are set for 1993 (Baltimore), 1994 (Pittsburgh) and 1995 (Texas). Either of the expansion cities would seem to be a logical choice for 1996, since baseball officials tend to lean toward cities that have not been host to the All-Star Game before.
Bonds on politics
Bonds found a lot of willing ears in San Diego, one of the cities at the top of his free-agent wish list. He was asked to talk politics when word came that President Bush and President Salinas de Gortari of Mexico would be attending.
"I'm registered as a Democrat, but I don't even go," Bonds said. "I'm registered in Pittsburgh, but I'm getting the hell out of there. HTC Then I ain't registering to vote anywhere."
The other trade
A lot has been made of the four All-Stars who were involved in the blockbuster trade between the Padres and Blue Jays in 1990, but there was another trade that yielded a full set of 1992 All-Stars. The Dodgers traded pitcher Juan Guzman to the Blue Jays for infielder Mike Sharperson Sept. 22, 1987. It is a deal the Dodgers have lived to regret, even if Sharperson is representing them in the All-Star Game.
Around the league
Dodgers left-hander Bob Ojeda has emerged as the club's best pitcher over the past month, raising speculation that he will be traded to a contending team. The Orioles have been among the clubs rumored to be interested, but the Expos appear to have the inside track.
They have room on their payroll (now about $14.5 million) and apparently are ready to deal.
When Boggs struck out looking against David Cone in the fourth inning, it was his first strikeout in 18 All-Star at-bats. . . . Carter's second-inning RBI was the first by a Blue Jay in All-Star history. . . . The four runs in the first inning tied an All-Star Game record for the first inning. . . . Roberto Alomar's two stolen bases in the second inning were a record for one inning and tied the record for stolen bases in a game -- held by Willie Mays and Kelly Gruber. . . . Griffey is the second-youngest player to start three straight All-Star Games (22 years, 8 months). Al Kaline, at 22 years, 6 months, was the youngest.