Excitement builds for Carew as All-Star Game nears
Hall of Famer and Twins legend shares thoughts on upcoming Classic with MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Hall of Famer Rod Carew has one of the richest All-Star Game legacies in Major League history.
Carew was an 18-time All-Star, getting the nod every year from his rookie season of 1967 through his second-to-last big league season, '84. He represented the Twins as an All-Star in all 12 of his years in Minnesota.
Only fellow Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan Musial and Cal Ripken Jr. appeared in more All-Star Games than Carew.
Carew has also stayed active in the All-Star Game in recent years, including this year's event, to be held at Target Field on July 15. Carew will serve as a spokesperson for the T-Mobile FanFest, which will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center from July 11-15.
Carew, who still represents the Twins at various events and also serves as an instructor for the club during Spring Training, took time to sit down with MLB.com and discuss his All-Star history and his thoughts on the Midsummer Classic returning to Minnesota for the first time since 1985.
MLB.com: You were an 18-time All-Star during your playing days. What was it like representing the American League all those years?
Carew: When I played in the All-Star Game, it was all about beating the National League. We weren't playing for home-field advantage or anything. Before the game, the president of the American League would always come in and say, "Gentlemen, we're here to beat up on the guys in the other dugout." They always called the American League the Little League of the Major Leagues, so we went out there to win. Nothing else but to win.
MLB.com: Do you have a favorite All-Star Game memory or moment that stands out above the others?
Carew: I have two games that stick out in my mind. There was my first one at Anaheim Stadium [in 1967]. I was just a 20-year-old kid, and here I am on the field with Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks and Willie Mays, and some of the great players like Harmon Killebrew and Brooks Robinson. No one really expected me to be an All-Star my first year, but I was elected to go as a starter. I was nervous. My legs almost ran right out from under me. But the guys didn't make me feel like a rookie.
My second one was the All-Star Game in San Diego [in 1978]. I hit two triples in that game. As I was sliding into third base on the second triple, Pete Rose was playing third and he was yelling, "Rod, two triples. Nobody has ever done that in All-Star Game." As I got up, he told me nobody had ever done that before.
MLB.com: How much have you seen the All-Star Game evolve over the years? The Midsummer Classic has grown into a celebration that lasts an entire week with events such as the FanFest, the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game and the Gillette Home Run Derby.
Carew: I think it's gotten to the point where it's a great thing for the fans because they've found more ways to get the fans involved. I think families can come to the All-Star Game and participate in several events such as FanFest. I think it's great. I think it exposes a lot of young players and kids playing growing up with it, and builds that environment. It gives kids a sense that they might want to be a ballplayer.
MLB.com: What should the fans expect to see this year, especially considering it's been nearly 30 years since the last time an All-Star Game was held in Minnesota?
Carew: I think they're going to experience great things. I know for a fact the Twins are going to do a great job putting on this All-Star Game. I'm looking forward to being a part of it. When people come out here and see it, they're going to enjoy themselves.
MLB.com: As a spokesperson for FanFest, what will be your role during All-Star week?
Carew: I'm going to be doing things for the Twins. Anything they ask me leading up to the All-Star Game, I'm going to do it. And anything they need for the All-Star Game, I'll do it.
MLB.com: And how would you describe your current role with the Twins?
Carew: I've been with the organization for the last six or seven years. I go down to Spring Training during the spring. I also come into town and do a lot of things for them. I also help out with clinics and things like that. I just enjoy it.
MLB.com: I understand that several other former Twins such as Paul Molitor, Bert Blyleven and Tony Oliva will also represent the Twins during All-Star week. What's it like being around former Twins players, especially Oliva, whom you remain close with?
Carew: Tony and I go way back. He's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. As a rookie, Tony took me under his wing and made me his roommate. We roomed together for 10 years. Even when Tony was a coach, I was his roommate. After he left, I wouldn't room with anyone because I knew I couldn't find someone I could trust and talk to and be with like Tony. That's what he was to me. He was a mentor to me as a young player. We're like brothers.
MLB.com: What do you think about Target Field being the venue selected to host the All-Star Game?
Carew: Are you kidding me? If you come to this park and you can't enjoy watching a ballgame, something is wrong. All-Star Game or a regular season, if you come here and you can't enjoy watching the game here, then something is wrong with you. Then you're not a fan.
MLB.com: Do you have a favorite event during All-Star week?
Carew: Just watching people and how they're enjoying themselves. That's what's important to me. Just to walk around and see the excitement people feel because they're at an All-Star Game, that's what it's all about.