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Hunter robs Bonds on amazing play07/10/2002 1:20 AM ET
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- It wasn't as dramatic as Pete Rose's game-winning collision with Ray Fosse in the 1970 Classic and not as pivotal as the 1983 game when Fred Lynn hit the only grand slam in the history of the All-Star Game. Even so, Torii Hunter's home run-robbing catch of Barry Bonds' drive in the first inning of the 73rd All-Star Game Tuesday night was one for the ages.
"I'll be able to tell my grandkids I robbed a Hall of Famer," Hunter said. "To me, that's No. 1. That's the best catch I've had because of where it happened. I grew up in Arkansas and the All-Star Game is one everybody got to watch on TV. To make a catch against a Hall of Famer on national TV, this is one I'll always remember."
Bonds congratulated Hunter between innings.
"He grabbed me and said 'Nice catch,' " Hunter said. "If I had known he was going to wrestle me like that, I might have wrestled him back. I don't know, though, he's one very strong man."
Many in the American League dugout were stunned by Hunter's spectacular grab. Well almost everybody. Hunter's teammates and Kansas City's Mike Sweeney had seen it all before.
"I told Bonds 'Now you know how the rest of us feel,' " said Sweeney, who was similarly robbed by Hunter in a recent game. "He does that all the time."
With two outs and nobody on in a scoreless game, San Francisco's Bonds lashed a 3-0 fastball from Boston's Derek Lowe to deep center field. Hunter and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, who was playing right field, raced to the wall. Hunter waited and timed his jump perfectly and caught the ball well above the fence.
Suzuki immediately congratulated Hunter with a slap on the back as the sellout crowd of 41,871 roared.
"Unbelievable," said Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa. "I really, for a moment, I thought he was Michael Jordan, my God. You know, that kid impresses everybody like a Superman right there, comes out from nowhere and jumps like that and got the ball. If he didn't catch that one, Barry would have another homer.
"I was impressed. I give the best to him, because, I mean, I see him making catches, but not up close, so now I know he's the man."
"Everybody knows Torii's the man," Twins catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "We're used to seeing those kind of plays from him."
Now the rest of the baseball world knows.
Hunter said he had taken a few steps back when Bonds was announced by the public address announcer.
"When you've got Barry Bonds hitting in Miller Park you better be ready for the ball to fly," Hunter said. "At first I thought it was a home run, but then I realized it was going to be closer than that. The butterflies went away, and I was surprised when I was able to reach it."
"It was amazing," Boston starter Derek Lowe said. "I've never pitched here before, so I had no idea where that was going to go, how far, if it was going in the park, out of the park, and he makes a fantastic play. That's what people come here to see, and it was just a great play. Hope he doesn't do it against us."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.