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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

McGriff's 2-Run Homer Earns Him MVP Title

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania -- The scouting report on Fred McGriff is nothing complicated. He is a power hitter with home run potential everytime up.


This is a guy with 20 or more home runs in eight straight seasons. He's hit 23 this year, and is on a pace to become the ninth player in major league history to hit 30 or more in seven successive seasons. And like most long ball guys, he loves fastballs.


So when McGriff came up to swing in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's All-Star game, there were no surprises on the mound or in the batter's box. It would be power against power, mano a mano.


McGriff won the showdown with a two-run homer that tied the game, and when the National League pushed over a run in the 10th inning, he was the Most Valuable Player in an 8-7 victory.


When Tony Gwynn slid home with the winning run on Moises Alou's double, McGriff said he was thinking: "Glad it's over. I'm the hero!"


For eight innings, though, McGriff had been invisible, stuck in the recesses of the National League dugout, the ace up manager Jim Fregosi's sleeve. "I was trying to wait for a spot," Fregosi explained.


The Atlanta slugger wondered if he had missed an opportunity. "I was thinking, I could have been playing golf these three days," he said.


In the ninth, though, Marquis Grissom walked and Craig Biggio barely beat a throw to first on what looked like a rally-killing double play.


With the tying run still at the plate, Fregosi called for McGriff, who'd been waiting all night for his chance and was beginning to think it wouldn't come at all.


It did. Very soon. Smith got ahead of McGriff. The second strike had depressed the slugger. "He blew the pitch right by me," McGriff said. "I was thinking, 'Let it go. Be aggressive. If you get it, you get it. If not, you get ready for Thursday.'"


For Smith's part, he had no problem with the next pitch, a fastball down and away. "I did exactly what I wanted to do with the pitch," he said. "He just went down and got it."


And he sent it over the center field wall to tie the game.