- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 10, 2002

MILWAUKEE As the debate over plans for Ted Williams' body continued, Major League Baseball honored the Splendid Splinter before last night's All-Star Game.

Following a video tribute to the Hall of Fame outfielder, who died Friday at 83, three Boston Red Sox All-Stars (Nomar Garciaparra, Ugueth Urbina and Johnny Damon) unveiled a red No. 9 in left field at Miller Park.

Earlier in the day, commissioner Bud Selig was asked about the controversy over Williams' body son John Henry Williams wants it cryogenically frozen for possible later sale of his DNA, while daughter Bobby-Jo Ferrell wants it cremated.

"I love Ted Williams, and I'm going to miss him," Selig said. "I'm sorry for what's going on. But that's a family matter that they are going to have to settle."

MLB also announced Monday that it is renaming the All-Star Game MVP award in honor of Williams.

Kile, Buck remembered

Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile and announcer Jack Buck were honored as well before the game with a video tribute.

Buck died last month after a lengthy illness. Kile died in his sleep June 22 at the Cardinals' team hotel in Chicago.

Kile's No. 57 jersey was hung in the National League dugout. Cardinals pitcher Matt Morris, who decided not to participate in the game for both physical and emotional reasons, wanted to wear his teammate's uniform in tribute but decided not to when Kile's widow had reservations.

Miller time

The All-Star Game has given the city of Milwaukee a chance to show off Miller Park, a retractable-roof stadium that opened last season amid much controversy. The $400 million, publicly funded ballpark endured numerous construction delays, including the collapse of a 1,400-ton crane in 1999 that killed three ironworkers.

Other problems have arisen since the park's opening, most notably the leaky roof, which was on display for all to see during Monday night's Home Run Derby. A massive thunderstorm swept through town during the contest, forcing the roof's closure. A short while later, a steady stream of water could be seen falling onto the loge section behind home plate.

Greatest moments

A key part of last night's pregame ceremonies was Major League Baseball Memorable Moments, a joint effort between MLB and Master Card to determine the sport's greatest events in history. During the ceremonies, 30 finalists selected by media, celebrities and historians were unveiled on the Jumbotron, supplemented by numerous on-field appearances by Hall of Famers.

Fans will be able to vote at www.mlb.com for their choices of the greatest moments, and the selections will be unveiled before Game4 of the World Series this fall, assuming it will be played.

Many of the finalists were expected, including Lou Gehrig's farewell speech in 1939, Willie Mays' over-the-shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series and Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

The intent of the program, besides deepening MLB's ties with Master Card, a key sponsor, is in part to stimulate debate among baseball fans on matters besides labor and steroids.

Ripken worried

Retired Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken was the MVP of last year's All-Star Game and remains a central part of this event. The night Ripken passed Lou Gehrig to set the game's all-time record for consecutive games played was named one of the greatest moments finalists.

Earlier in the day, Ripken expressed concern over the lack of progress in labor talks between owners and players. Ripken, who passed Gehrig in September 1995, is widely credited for helping restore interest in baseball following the 232-day players strike of 1994-95.

"As a baseball fan, I keep my fingers crossed that something can be worked out," Ripken said. "You hope that they bargain in good faith and keep working at this. You want this game to be cultivated between the white lines. As a retired player, I do have to admit I'm a bit relieved I don't have to be as concerned about it now.

"I wish I was smart enough to offer a solution to what's happening. I don't have that magic answer. You have to hope that someone in the room is smart enough to find that answer."

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