DETROIT -- Brewers outfielder Carlos Lee put up some impressive offensive numbers when he was with the White Sox from 1999-2004. But he never made it to the All-Star Game because the White Sox had such talented players as Magglio Ordonez and Frank Thomas on the roster.
This year, however, there is no ignoring Lee, who has carried the Brewers with his big bat. During the first half, Lee hit .268 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs and was invited to make his first All-Star appearance.
"I'm really excited for Carlos. He definitely deserves it," said Brewers manager Ned Yost, who was one of the coaches for the National League. "This is his first chance to come to an All-Star Game. He has been a force in our lineup. What I like most about him is his ability to hit. He is a great, smart hitter. He never panics. He longs to have runners in scoring position."
Lee was able to show his powerful bat at the CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby. He hit 11 home runs in the first round, but was eliminated in the second round after hitting only four homers.
On Tuesday, Lee entered the All-Star Game for the National League in the sixth inning and went 0-for-3 with an RBI. He drove in Luis Gonzalez with a groundout in the ninth inning.
"I'm pretty excited about playing in the All-Star Game. It's a lot of fun," Lee said. "It was a lot of fun [at the CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby], too. It's just great to be around the guys. It's awesome. It's a great feeling."
Lee also thought he had a home run in the sixth inning off former teammate Jon Garland, but it turned out to be a deep fly ball to center field.
"I hit the ball pretty good. I thought it had a chance, but it was hit in the deepest part of the park," Lee said. "I said, 'Go ball!' But I saw Ichiro stop and I said, 'Oh, well.'"
Lee has hit a lot of home runs at Miller Park and he also enjoys playing for the fans in Milwaukee. He said they are the most knowledgeable fans in baseball.
"They go out there, cheer for you and they are behind you 100 percent. It's a great atmosphere to play there. The fans understand the game," Lee said.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.