Ventura, a two-time selection, recalled his first Midsummer Classic experience in 1992 as his favorite All-Star Game memory. He was in his fourth season with Chicago.
"I think you go your first time, you're there with a group of guys you've always looked up to," Ventura said. "You're looking at the best players in the game."
The American League squad boasted plenty of big names that year, including Wade Boggs, Kirby Puckett, and the Alomar brothers.
"That's the exciting part of it," Ventura said. "You go, and all the hoopla and everything that's with it. But when you're sitting in a room ready to go out and you're with the best players in baseball, it's pretty cool."
Ventura went 2-for-2 and scored a run, helping the AL to a 13-6 victory at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. The National League's roster was flooded with stars, too. Ozzie Smith, Tony Gwynn, and Barry Bonds represented the top of the NL order.
But for Ventura, the weight of the moment seemed to sink in with manager Tom Kelly's pregame speech.
"For me, Tom Kelly was going around and giving a speech in '92 to the team," Ventura said. "You're just sitting there and you're looking around the room, seeing the best players -- you don't really know if you fit into that. But it is a pretty neat experience."
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Tuesday, July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less