Mammoth lead for Pujols in All-Star vote

Mammoth lead for Pujols in All-Star vote

Albert Pujols' soaring start not only has the St. Louis slugger leading the Major Leagues in home runs and RBIs, it also has the Cardinals first baseman's All-Star campaign flying high.

According to the latest balloting totals for the 77th All-Star Game, released Tuesday by Major League Baseball, Pujols has already received 726,854 votes -- which gives Pujols at least a six-figure advantage over any other candidate at any position in either league -- and a more than one-half million vote lead on his nearest challenger in the National League first-base balloting, Carlos Delgado (220,484) of the New York Mets.

Pujols is one of four Cardinals on a pace to start the July 11 game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. St. Louis, which leads the National League Central Division with the league's best record, also has shortstop David Eckstein with a slight lead over Atlanta's Edgar Renteria, New York's Jose Reyes and Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins.

Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen has outpolled David Wright of the Mets by approximately 48,000 votes, and outfielder Jim Edmonds ranks third in the outfield voting, less than 8,000 votes ahead of Ken Griffey Jr. of the Cincinnati Reds. Griffey is bidding for a 13th All-Star appearance and trails only Cal Ripken Jr. (17) and Rod Carew (15).

The Mets have a pair of players who would be starting if the balloting ending today: Catcher Paul Lo Duca and outfielder Carlos Beltran. Lo Duca leads former Met and current San Diego Padre Mike Piazza. Piazza, a 12-time All-Star, is less than 9,000 votes behind Lo Duca. Yadier Molina of the Cardinals is less than 20,000 votes behind Lo Duca in third.

The other position leaders are Houston second baseman Craig Biggio and Atlanta center fielder Andruw Jones.

Biggio leads Chase Utley of Philadelphia by less than 17,000 votes. Jones, the leading vote-getter among NL outfielders, has received 420,462 votes, more than any National Leaguer except Pujols.

Fans can cast votes up to 25 times with the 2006 All-Star Online Ballot at and all 30 club sites. Online balloting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 29.

Rosters for the 77th All-Star Game will be released at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 2. The announcement will reveal the 16 elected starters, as determined by fan balloting, and 45 pitchers and reserves, as determined by the player ballot, the two All-Star team managers -- Ozzie Guillen of the World Series champion Chicago White Sox and Phil Garner of the NL champion Houston Astros -- and Major League Baseball.

Fans will once again have the opportunity to select the final position player for each league's 32-man roster at The Final Vote will provide fans the opportunity to cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over a three-day period. Fans added Roy Oswalt (NL) and Scott Podsednik (AL) to the rosters with the Final Vote last summer.

For the fourth consecutive year, the league that wins the All-Star Game will receive home-field advantage during the World Series. The AL has won back-to-back-to-back Midsummer Classics since that provision was added prior to the 2003 World Series, and eight straight overall.

Jim Molony is a writer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.