Leading the Futures will be two of the biggest names from the not-so-distant past as a pair of Hall of Famers will be the managers in the 2007 XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game to be played Sunday, July 8, at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Dave Winfield, a 12-time All-Star outfielder, has been selected to lead the U.S. team in the ninth annual contest, while hometown fans will no doubt be ecstatic that legendary Giants pitcher Juan Marichal will take the helm of the World team.
The game will begin at 4 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. The exhibition will help kick off Taco Bell All-Star Sunday, the first of three days of All-Star events that will culminate in the 78th All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 10.
For Marichal, the event will be a homecoming. The Dominican-born pitcher spent his first 14 Major League seasons with the Giants, earning a spot on the All-Star team nine times, which ties him for tops in franchise history with fellow Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell.
And if the San Francisco fans are thrilled to have their beloved "Dominican Dandy" back home, they could not be more delighted than Marichal himself.
"It's wonderful. I lived in San Francisco for 17 years and to be able to come back here and be involved with this important game is great," said Marichal, who works for ESPN Deportes, their Spanish-language network. "It's very special to be able to work with so many youngsters, the future players of the game. It's something I can't express, my feelings about being selected."
Marichal himself was named the All-Star Game MVP in 1965 when he pitched a perfect three innings. In eight overall appearances in the Midsummer Classic he was 2-0 with an 0.50 ERA and 12 strikeouts.
During his tenure with the Giants, he threw a no-hitter in 1963 -- one of 52 shutouts he threw in his team's uniform -- while his 2,281 strikeouts rank second in franchise history.
Marichal finished his Major League career by pitching for the Red Sox in 1974 and the Dodgers in 1975, retiring with 243 wins, 2,303 strikeouts and six 20-win seasons before his 1983 induction into the Hall of Fame.
Winfield was drafted in 1973 out of Minnesota, selected in the pro draft that year not only in baseball but in basketball and football as well. He was one of the few players to completely bypass the Minor Leagues altogether, going straight to the big leagues with the San Diego Padres and continuing on to a 22-year Major League career with the Padres, Yankees, Angels, Blue Jays, Twins and Indians.
He was an All-Star for 12 straight years between 1977-1988. During his career he hit a combined .283 with 465 homers and 1,833 RBIs, picking up seven Gold Gloves along the way as well as the coveted Robert Clemente Award in 1994 for community service.
In 1992, Winfield finally picked up his first World Series ring as he helped lead Toronto to the title.
Winfield was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001, the first Padres player to earn that honor. He currently serves as a Vice President in the San Diego organization.
While neither player is currently working in a managerial capacity within baseball, they certainly have the experience and the smarts to take the reins for the nine innings of exhibition play.
"I'm looking forward to working with good pitchers and guys who know how to play the game with good fundamentals," said Marichal. "I like to play a fast game, a running game, to use the hit-and-run. But when you have pitchers who can throw strikes and have good control, you know you're going to have a good game."
That said, he admits he will be counting on his coaching staff as well, which has yet to be named but will be comprised of current Minor League managers and coaches.
"We're going to have coaches who know the players better than I do and they'll give me advice," he said. "It's good to have someone near you who knows the caliber of player we have and the way they play."
Each squad will be comprised of the best young prospects in the game, encompassing all 30 parent organizations. In last year's game, the U.S beat the World team, 8-5, as Kansas City Royals outfield prospect Billy Butler was named MVP and Cincinnati Reds hurler Homer Bailey earned the win.
The rosters will be announced Thursday, June 21, at 2 p.m. ET and will be unveiled live on the MLB All-Star Futures Selection Show on MLB.TV.