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MLB All-Star Game memories

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David Eckstein (Cards), 2005 & 2006

Photograph By AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Eckstein's first of two All-Star Game experiences has special significance. We'll let him tell the story:

"I'd call my dad after every game, and when I called him [after a Sunday game in San Francisco], I could tell there was something wrong. He said he couldn't come to the All-Star Game because he had a city commission meeting, but he didn't sound good. I hung up and called my sister, who lived across the street. She called back a few minutes later and said, 'He's in an ambulance and he's not breathing.'

"If anyone knew my father, they knew that I had instructions from him that if he passed away and I had a game, to play it.

"We got on the plane to Detroit, not knowing. I didn't sleep. We landed at 6 a.m. and he was OK. He had fluid in his lungs [from an issue with dialysis]. It was a scare.

"The phone call saved his life. If we hadn't talked, he wouldn't have told anyone he was having trouble."

That experience made moments like fielding the in-between-hop grounder hit by Johnny Damon to start the 2005 game and the rest of his two All-Star experiences easier to handle.

"I had always dreamed of being an All-Star, so it was very special to me to make it as a shortstop," he said. Eckstein now lives in Florida with his wife and family and helps run his wife's sci-fi apparel business.

--Mark Simon