DETROIT -- Fred Lynn burst onto the American League scene in 1975, becoming the first player in Major League history to win the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards in the same season.
A nine-time All-Star, the outfielder collected four Gold Gloves during his distinguished career, retiring with 306 home runs and a .283 lifetime average after 17 seasons in the big leagues. In town to sign autographs at FanFest and play in the Legends and Celebrities softball game, Lynn spoke with MLB.com at the Cobo Center.
MLB.com: As a former member of the Red Sox, what was your reaction to last season?
Lynn: Well, my wife worked in Boston for a long time and that's where we met. So not only am I, obviously, a Red Sox fan, but she is as well. Unfortunately, I didn't get back for the Series, but we were watching on TV just like everybody else. We were elated, when they won, not just for the organization's sake, but for all the fans that have lived through so many agonizing moments.
As a Red Sox player, you're just a Red Sox for a brief time. But people are Red Sox fans for their whole life and so, for them, it was like nirvana because all the demons had been exorcised [laughing].
MLB.com: As a former All-Star MVP, what memories come back at this time of year?
Lynn: Well, it's big for me, you know. I had a lot of success in All-Star Games. I had a lot of fond memories, especially in Comiskey Park [in 1983], when I hit the grand slam. Not only because I hit the grand slam -- that wasn't the deal -- it was because we won. Those games meant a lot to the players. There were bragging rights between the American and National Leagues. We had American League ball, the National League ball, American League umpires, National League umpires, so there was a real rivalry. Now it's all kind of intermeshed. ... So, it's a little bit different but, the National League had won like eight or nine in a row, and when we won in '83, we broke the streak. And ever since then, the American League has dominated.
MLB.com: Do you think [those developments have] diluted the product?
Lynn: When guys put on a uniform, I hope that they play hard no matter what the circumstance. I would think so. I would think that's the way it is. No one wants to get embarrassed. You always want to do well against your peers, especially when it's the All-Stars. If I'm facing Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens, I want to get a hit. I don't want to be a notch on their belt. And I'm sure that's the way these guys feel, too.
MLB.com: Coming back for events like this, what do you look forward to?
Lynn: I look forward to seeing the guys. ... I saw Mickey Lolich here, and I hadn't seen him since we played. He was one of the toughest pitchers I ever faced. But I also like to talk to the fans, because this is a time where we get to speak to them one on one. And that's really nice for me, because when you're a player you don't get that opportunity. You're kind of focused on what you're doing and the fans -- you don't get to interact with them that much. So for me now, it's a real pleasure to talk to the fans and see what they have to say.
Patrick Mooney is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.