It did not take long for Willie Randolph to get his wish. Hours after the manager of the New York Mets had voiced hopes of getting to coach one last time in doomed Yankee Stadium, the one-time Yankees icon was chosen for the National League coaching staff in the 79th All-Star Game. NL and Colorado manager Clint Hurdle made the announcement Friday morning.
"I felt Willie was a proper and good fit for our club," Hurdle said. "He was a contemporary of mine. I have a ton of respect for Willie as a player." "Willie has a lot of All-Star Game experience with Joe Torre, helping him put together the lineup, managing the flow of the game," Hurdle said. "This is an opportunity that I think will be very special, a lifetime special moment for him to go back." "It's just tremendous. It's a tremendous honor," Randolph said late Friday afternoon -- in Yankee Stadium, prior to the opener of the Interleague Subway Series. "I was hoping that would happen. I put my feelers out there early, and it came back really nice." Tabbed as the NL's other base coach was Bud Black, manager of the San Diego Padres. "My thoughts with Bud Black is he has All-Star Game experience," Hurdle said. "He has handled an All-Star pitching staff before, and I wanted to bring somebody in with some experience along those lines to help Bob Apodaca. "I have a lot of respect for Bud Black," Hurdle added. "I have for many years." "I'm excited. I'm flattered I was asked," Black said Friday night prior to the Padres' Interleague game in Seattle. "To be part of that event is special. Yankee Stadium is a great place and this is the last go-around. To be part of that in a place where I always enjoyed going as a player and a coach ... it's going to be a great three days." Reflecting earlier on the Mets' Interleague weekend in the Bronx, Randolph had called Yankee Stadium his "favorite park to play in." "It is old, and there probably needs to be a new Yankee Stadium, but I'll always hold on to the stadium that I grew up in and know and love," Randolph had said, adding his hope of being able to make one more visit to the 85-year-old ballpark that will be replaced next season by a new Yankee Stadium rising across the street. In no time, Hurdle granted the wish of the former second baseman, who played 13 seasons in the Bronx (1976-88) and was a Yankees coach for a dozen more prior to becoming the Mets' manager in 2005. "I really love the All-Star Game," Randolph said. "I've been to many as a player and a coach. It's going to be a tremendous honor to be a part of Clint Hurdle's staff and win a game for the National League, and say your final goodbyes to a grand stadium.' "It's a stadium I love. I've been here a long time, I have a lot of great memories. I'm not a very nostalgic, sentimental guy, but I do reminisce a lot when I come here." In addition to Randolph and Black, Hurdle will be assisted in All-Star duties by his own Rockies coaching staff -- pitching coach Bob Apodaca, hitting coach Alan Cockrell, third-base/infield coach Mike Gallego, first-base coach Glenallen Hill, bullpen coach Rick Mathews and bench coach Jamie Quirk. Hurdle also indicated the possibility of the Yankees paying homage to former coaches and managers at the All-Star game. "It still leaves the opportunity for the Yankees, if they decide to honor somebody else, Torre or (Lou) Piniella, they've got that opportunity to do that on their own at the last All-Star Game," Hurdle said.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.