A sellout crowd at Al Lang Stadium watched television stars, Hall of Famers and former major-league veterans play in the eighth annual Legends of Baseball game Saturday night.
More than 50 players and celebrities competed in the game, which really was more of a show. The final score wasn't important (the American League won 11-5). What was important was having a good time.
"When you put that uniform on, you still get that adrenaline rush," former pitcher Tug McGraw said. "It's great to see former players and friends. That's what it's all about."
Some of the older players at the game were Bob Feller, Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew and Jim "Mud Cat" Grant. Feller started the game and pitched to three batters before being removed.
There were some good plays in the field, and some hard-hit balls, but the real quest was to have a good time.
"I like being a part of this," Dave Winfield said. "I'm done playing, but it's a thrill to see the guys again. I played for 23 years, so it's hard to get out of your system."
ACTING THE PART: Actor Casey Sander of Grace Under Fire knew how to act like a baseball player. Sander played in the Angels organization from 1973 to 1975.
In the run contest, Sander came in second behind former Detroit Tiger Marty Castillo. Sander took two straight over the leftfield fence.
"Before I was an actor, I was a baseball player," Sander said. "I've always loved baseball."
While Sander looked impressive, actor Noah Wyle looked like, well, an actor. Wyle got no sympathy in the batting cage before the game.
"That's the first one in a while," Wyle said after a swing and a miss.
After a second swing and a miss, Bill North said, "That's the second one in a while, Dr. Carter," in reference to Wyle's character on ER.
Regardless, Wyle, who sported a Devil Rays jersey, was a crowd favorite.
Actor Mark Harmon was a late arrival. Harmon's plane was late and he didn't arrive until the last inning. He promptly stepped to the plate and hit a double.
RAYS COACHES: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were well represented. In the second inning, Greg Harris pitched to Scott Fletcher, who hit a fly ball to Milt Thompson in center.
In the fifth, Orestes Destrade hit a double off the leftfield fence off Dennis Rasmussen. All are Devil Rays coaches.
STICK TO FOOTBALL, COACH: It has been 20 years since South Florida football coach Jim Leavitt last played baseball, and it showed. Leavitt, who hit .386 as a sophomore at Missouri, struggled to get the ball out of the infield during the home run hitting contest.