Garcia remembers All-Star experience

Curve manager Carlos Garcia lived every ballplayer’s dream on July 12, 1994 when, as a member of the Pirates, he played in the All-Star Game at Three Rivers Stadium.

“I enjoyed every moment,” Garcia said. “It’s a great, great time.”

The Pirates finished 53-61 during the strike-shortened 1994 season, which had no World Series but did at least have an All-Star Game. Garcia was the Pirates’ lone All-Star representative, and it just so happened to come in a year when his team hosted the midsummer classic.

“Being in Pittsburgh, it was awesome,” Garcia said. “It was being at home, the home crowd with you. You could drive your own car, you could use your own locker room.

“It was a great experience from the time they tell you you’re going to be participating in the game. It’s a sense of pride, a sense you accomplished a lot of things in order to play with the best players in the game.”

From his pregame introduction to everything else that happened, Garcia vividly recalls everything he experienced.

“I still remember those things,” he said. “I was on the first base line, they introduced me and I stepped forward and the people received me with a warm applause.”

Garcia came up to bat twice in the game and went 1-for-2, with a career highlight of roping a line drive single up the middle over the head of pitcher Randy Johnson. That, of course, was his favorite memory of the game.

His least favorite occurred a few seconds later when he was picked off first base. Garcia was heading to second and got thrown out coming back to first.

The 1994 All-Star Game was thrilling for how it ended. The National League had not won since 1987 but snapped a six-game losing streak when Moises Alou doubled home Tony Gwynn in the 10th inning for an 8-7 victory.

“We won the game, it’s great,” Garcia said. “But if we don’t, that’s OK.”

The exhibition didn’t have the significance back then that it does now, with the winning league getting home-field advantage in the World Series.

Garcia was on the field that night with baseball legends such as Barry Bonds, Cal Ripken Jr., Ozzie Smith, Greg Maddux and Wade Boggs.

“You just try to enjoy the festivities as much as you can, enjoy fooling around with the other ballplayers and try to get a lot of memorabilia because you’re never going to see a bunch of superstars together like you see in that,” Garcia said.