New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey's electric first half has brought back memories of Dwight Gooden bursting on the scene for them nearly 30 years ago.
The comparisons will be even more fitting on Tuesday when Harvey becomes the first Mets pitcher since Gooden to start an All-Star Game, as the National League shoots for a fourth straight victory over the American League in the 84th edition of the Midsummer Classic at Citi Field.
"It's a huge honor," said Harvey. "It's here in New York. The fans have been great all year here, and hopefully I can make them proud."
Harvey also becomes the first pitcher to start this game in his home park since Roger Clemens for Houston in 2004. The young Mets hurler is 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA and an NL-best 147 strikeouts in 19 starts this season.
"It really wouldn't have mattered what city we were playing in with the year that he's had, the impressive numbers that he's put up," said San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy, who will skipper the NL team. "He would have been the starting pitcher."
Harvey, who didn't make his first big league start until July of last year, joins Gooden (1986, 1988) and Tom Seaver (1970) as Mets pitchers who have started an All-Star Game.
"They are two of the best," Harvey said. "The support Dwight's given me this season has been tremendous."
Detroit manager Jim Leyland didn't have to look far to name his pitcher, as he chose his own right-hander, Max Scherzer, who is 13-1 this season and is coming off his first loss of the season on Saturday against Texas. He is tied with Tampa Bay's Matt Moore for the big league lead in wins and is second in the AL with 152 strikeouts with an ERA of 3.19 in 19 starts.
"This is what you dream for," said Scherzer. "It means so much to me. I'm really excited to pitch in my first (All-Star) game."
Scherzer will be the second straight Tiger to start the All-Star Game, following Justin Verlander last year. The last AL team to have back-to-back All-Star starting pitchers was Oakland with Dave Stewart in 1989 and Bob Welch in 1990.
Other Detroit starting pitchers in the All-Star Game were Kenny Rogers (2006), Jack Morris (1985 & '81), Mark Fidrych (1976), Denny McLain (1966), Jim Bunning (1957, 1961-62) and Hal Newhouser (1947).
The lineup for the visiting American League will open with Angels phenom Mike Trout in left field, followed by Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and reigning MVP Miguel Cabrera of Detroit at third.
Baltimore slugger Chris Davis leads the majors with 37 homers and will play first while batting cleanup. He will be followed by Toronto right fielder Jose Bautista, Boston designated hitter David Ortiz, Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones, Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer and Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy.
Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips will lead off for the National League with St. Louis right fielder Carlos Beltran next. Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto will hit third and Mets third baseman David Wright will bat cleanup.
Colorado left fielder Carlos Gonzalez will hit fifth followed by St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Colorado's Michael Cuddyer will serve as the designated hitter and Washington's Bryce Harper will bat ninth and play center field.
The Mets haven't hosted an All-Star Game since 1964 at Shea Stadium, just two years after the club's inception.
Of course, the game has been played twice in New York since that contest, most recently in 2008, but both of those contests were hosted by the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
After going 13 straight years without a win, the NL has started to turn the tables on their counterparts and was an 8-0 winner last season thanks in part to disgraced MVP Melky Cabrera.
Amazingly, the American League has only managed two runs in the last three All-Star Games.
This also marks the 11th straight year that the All-Star Game will determine which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series.
"I think it's a nice touch," said Leyland about the game meaning something other than pride. "You win this game and you get (home field). Statistically, it says it gives you an advantage. We're going to try our best to win this game."
Next year's All-Star Game will be contested at Target Field in Minnesota.