Legion Baseball prominent at MLB All-Star festivities

Former American Legion Baseball players made their mark on the Midsummer Classic and the surrounding events in Miami this week.

Decatur Post 15 (Ala.) alum Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless inning and earned the win in a 2-1 American League victory on July 11.

Bryce Harper, the leading vote-getter in the All-Star balloting and a Las Vegas Legion alum, may have had the best performance among Legion alums, reaching base in both plate appearances and making a diving catch to end a threat.

Minnesota Legion alum Brad Hand may have also made his case for being the most valuable Legion alum in the game, pitching a perfect seventh inning, including a three-pitch strikeout of eventual game MVP Robinson Cano.

Also of note, Creve Coeur Post 397 (Mo.) Legion alum Max Scherzer earned the start for the National League and pitched a scoreless inning, as well.

Oakland A's top pitching prospect A.J. Puk headlined the Futures Game on July 9, closing out the 7-6 victory for Team USA. Puk played on the 2012 American Legion USA Baseball Tournament of Stars team. Assistant coaching for that team was Jim Peck, who is a Minnesota American Legion Baseball Committee member and American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer.

The All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game was headlined by two former Legion ballplayers who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this month: Ivan Rodriguez and Tim Raines.

Raines hit two home runs and made a stellar defensive play to help lead the National League to a high-scoring 28-22 victory and earn co-MVP honors.

Rodriguez received a hero's welcome as he returned to the city where he won the 2003 World Series. Rodriguez was also honored prior to the All-Star Game, which celebrated Latin-born players enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y.

In addition, national staff participated in the Electric Run MLB All-Star 5k and attended All-Star Zumba, both of which benefit MLB Charities to support youth baseball and youth softball programming.