Originally created 07/12/00

Ceremonies celebrate Braves



ATLANTA -- Tuesday night's All-Star Game belonged to the Braves.

Pre-game ceremonies at Turner Field for the 71st playing of baseball's midsummer classic put the spotlight on Atlanta's finest. From Andres Galarraga to Dale Murphy to Hank Aaron, Braves past and present took centerstage.

Mr. Galarraga, who overcame cancer to earn a berth on this year's team, drew the loudest cheers during a pre-game salute to children. The first baseman was named a starter when St. Louis slugger Mark McGwire was unable to play because of an injury.

Mr. Murphy, still looking fit enough to roam center field again for the Braves, was the National League's honorary captain. The two-time National League Most Valuable Player was a seven-time All-Star during his career in Atlanta.

Mr. Aaron, baseball's all-time home-run leader, threw out the ceremonial first pitch -- a strike to Home Run Derby champ Sammy Sosa. During Atlanta's last time as host of the All-Star Game, Mr. Aaron hit a home run that helped the National League win 4-3 in 10 innings.

Those weren't the only Braves connections. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox and his staff were on hand to guide the National League squad. Even American League manager Joe Torre, now with the Yankees, spent time in Atlanta as a player and manager.

Joining Mr. Galarraga on the National League team were teammates Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux.

This year's game is the fourth time the Braves organization has been host of an All-Star Game. The first, in 1936, saw the National League get its first victory in the series with a 4-3 win at Braves Field in Boston. In 1955, Milwaukee's County Stadium was the site for the National League's 6-5 victory. And in 1972, the National All-Stars prevailed to begin an 11-game winning streak against their American League counterparts.

Reach John Boyette at (706) 823-3337.