When it was all said and done, the Major League players and baseball fans saw eye-to-eye in selecting the National starters for the 77th All-Star Game, and NL manager Phil Garner shied away from padding the roster with his own players. All eight of the NL starters named Sunday night were the leading vote-getters at their respective positions by the fans and players. And although none of the players from the reigning NL champion Houston Astros were selected by fans or players, Astros manager Phil Garner chose just one of his own -- first baseman Lance Berkman -- as a reserve. While Berkman is the only player representing the Astros (barring an injury replacement), the Chicago White Sox have six players on the American League team, all of them selected by the players or manager Ozzie Guillen -- with the potential for a seventh.
Baseball fans around the world decided that none of the defending World Series champion position players were worthy of All-Star starting status. But MLB players disagreed, voting for outfielder Jermaine Dye and infielder Jim Thome. Guillen, with help from others, selected White Sox starter Mark Buehrle and closer Bobby Jenks to the AL pitching staff, along with first baseman Paul Konerko, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski is one of five Final Vote candidates. Now in its fifth year, the Monster.com 2006 All-Star Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Chevrolet, and continues until 6 p.m. ET Thursday. The winners will be announced on ESPN and MLB.com shortly thereafter. There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2006 All-Star Final Vote -- online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans can also text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote Candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. For $.30 per text message vote, fans will have the freedom to vote from wherever they are. Fans can get the mobile ballot now. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 28776. The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the 77th All-Star Game via the Monster 2006 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com. The All-Star Game, to be held on Tuesday, July 11, at 8 p.m. ET, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet. Besides selecting Buehrle and Jenks from his own pitching staff, Guillen added left-hander Barry Zito from the Oakland Athletics and Mark Redman from the Kansas City Royals to the All-Star staff. The players voted Jose Contreras of the White Sox, Scott Kazmir of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Jon Papelbon of the Boston Red Sox, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, Detroit Tigers starter Kenny Rogers, Toronto Blue Jays starter Roy Halladay and closer B.J. Ryan, and Minnesota Twins left-hander Johan Santana onto the AL team. As for the position backups, Guillen selected Baltimore Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada and Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore and Konerko, while the player picks included Twins catcher Joe Mauer, White Sox slugger Jim Thome, Blue Jays third baseman Troy Glaus, Michael Young of the Texas Rangers and outfielders Vernon Wells and Alex Rios of the Blue Jays. However, a leg infection will prevent Rios from playing, and he has been replaced by Rangers outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., one of two injury replacements. Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, selected by the players vote, has a hamstring injury and was replaced on the All-Star team by Mariners second baseman Jose Lopez. Putting Tejada on the team provides an opportunity for the All-Star Game to have the same player capture the Most Valuable Player Award in back-to-back seasons for the first time in the Midsummer Classic's history.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.