Fred McGriff MVP of 1994 All-Star game

In the strike season of 1994, when the home run derby at the All-Star game wasn’t a three-hour affair, Braves first baseman Fred McGriff and Seattle center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. squared off in what was a great show at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.

“Yes, I remember it,’’ said McGriff. “I probably remember it more because how crazy the derby has become today. Back then we only got a few swings. Today, they are going on forever. I am not sure how they do it.’’

The ’94 derby lineup was an amazing one, and it lasted only one round.

Griffey finished with nine homers, followed by McGriff with seven, Ruben Sierra of Oakland and Frank Thomas of the White Sox each had four, Jeff Bagwell of Houston had three as did Dante Bichette of Colorado, Albert Belle of Cleveland hit two and Mike Piazza of the Dodgers didn’t hit any.

“I remember hitting a few big shots,’’ said McGriff. “Ken was the man back then, and it was very exciting for the fans. A lot of very good talent in that group.’’

McGriff, however, was the hero in the All-Star game, the 65th edition of the midsummer classic, as he belted a pinch hit, game-tying home run in the ninth in a game the National League came from behind to win 8-7 over the AL.

McGriff hit the homer off Baltimore’s Lee Smith, perhaps baseball’s best closer at the time, and after the game said, “I was just hoping (NL manager) Lee Fregosi would find a way to get me into the game. As I walked to the plate, I told myself to be ready, take three hacks and get him if you can. That homer is the kind of thing you dream about, and dreams do come true.’’

McGriff was named MVP of the game and said looking back, “It as one of my better moments. I was fortunate to do a lot of things in my career, but that had to be one of the cooler ones.’’