NEW YORK -- Every year, Major League Baseball rounds up as many former players as possible who once played for the team hosting the All-Star Game for a special exhibition.
The Taco Bell Legends and Celebrity Softball Game has been a staple of All-Star Sunday for years, but with the game being played at the New York Mets' ballpark this time around, the possibilities were endless as to which former Mets may show up for this fan-friendly six-inning matchup between legendary baseball players and Hollywood types.
The casting call didn't disappoint, with four unforgettable players from Mets past highlighting the roster. Two from the 1986 World Series team -- Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden -- joined John Franco and another fan favorite, Mike Piazza, to lead the National League to an 8-5 win over the American League team.
One more Mets great who wasn't there was nonetheless recognized as well. Gary Carter, who passed away in February 2012, was saluted prior to the game with a video tribute highlighting his brighter moments during both his career and also as a willing participant in this softball exhibition almost every year for about a decade.
Gooden, who has been retired from the big leagues since 2000, enjoyed catching up with old teammates and opponents, noting that players are connected forever once they win a World Series together.
"We're not only brothers, but we're teammates for life," he said. "We see each other now, we introduce each other and we say, 'This is my teammate,' even though so much time has passed. Teammate? We're always teammates.
"You spend more time with those guys than your family during the season. Everybody puts their egos aside, and comes together. To accomplish that, it's a great feat and something you always cherish for life."