Fans again have say in All-Star Game MVP

Fans again have say in All-Star Game MVP

SAN DIEGO -- It will be time to go back into voting mode starting with the sixth inning of the 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard tonight at Petco Park, and there could be some important history involved as you help decide who wins the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

Angels outfielder Mike Trout is in the American League's starting lineup again, and he is in position to possibly become the first athlete in major North American sports history to win three consecutive MVP trophies for an All-Star Game. Just 24, Trout is the only Major Leaguer to repeat and in 2015 joined these two-time winners: Willie Mays (1963 and '68), Steve Garvey (1974 and '78), Gary Carter (1981 and '84) and Cal Ripken, Jr. (1991 and 2001).

The 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard and staged at Petco Park is set for tonight, with coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

Bobby Hull won the National Hockey League's All-Star MVP award in 1970-71. In the National Football League, repeat winners included Johnny Unitas (1959-60), Jim Brown (1961-62), Gale Sayers (1966-67) and Rich Gannon (2000-01). Russell Westbrook became the National Basketball Association's first to do so this year, and in the WNBA, Lisa Leslie won it in 2001-02 and Swin Cash in 2009 and '11 (there was no 2012 game due to the Olympics). Carlos Valderrama took the honor in 1996-97, the first two years for the Major League Soccer's game.

"It's obviously a humbling honor with the MVPs," Trout said after winning his second one last summer. "Just the hard work in the offseason you put in, the hard work before games, the preparation. Obviously, my teammates, can't do it without them."

In four All-Star Games, Trout is 5-for-10 with three runs, three RBIs, two doubles, a triple, a home run and two walks. Last year in Cincinnati, he completed an unprecedented All-Star cycle by homering in his first time up, having reached base the other three ways in his previous first All-Star at-bats. Whether he can keep it up at Petco is anyone's guess, but we do know that fans at MLB.com will be partly responsible for deciding who gets the trophy after the game.

By the sixth inning, some strong candidates will have emerged. The balloting will continue until the MVP is announced immediately following the end of the game. The online fan vote again will count for 20 percent, with the other 80 percent coming onsite from the Baseball Writers' Association of America and the announcers from the All-Star Game's three broadcast rights holders: FOX Sports, ESPN Radio and MLB International.

Ready to resume clicking after all that time deciding starters and then the final roster spots? This will be some pretty prestigious hardware, so with it comes much responsibility. Here are some fun facts before you start voting again:

• Baltimore has had the most All-Star MVPs with six: Brooks Robinson (1966), Frank Robinson (1971), Ripken (1991 and 2001), Roberto Alomar (1998) and Miguel Tejada (2005). Could starting AL third baseman Manny Machado give them a seventh on the 50th anniversary of their first one? The Angels, Dodgers, Giants and Reds tie for second with five each, followed by the Red Sox with four.

• Current clubs that never have had an All-Star MVP include the Astros, Blue Jays, Cardinals, D-backs, Rockies, Tigers and White Sox. There are some surprising names on that list, and Houston second baseman Jose Altuve or White Sox ace Chris Sale could be poised to break that ice.

• The only Royal to win the award was Bo Jackson after his mammoth home run in the 1989 game in Anaheim. AL catcher Salvador Perez, MLB's top overall vote-getter, could be the right person to be the next. After all, he just won a World Series MVP Award last fall.

• The last time a player was MVP in his home park was Pedro Martinez, who struck out five of the first six National League batters while representing Boston in 1999 at Fenway Park. Could Wil Myers of the Padres get sufficient opportunity to be the next?

• It was originally called the "Arch Ward Memorial Award" in honor of the man who conceived of the All-Star Game in 1933. The award's name was changed to the "Commissioner's Trophy" in 1970, and that name began being used in 1985 instead for the presentation of the World Series hardware. In 2002, it was renamed as the Arch Ward Trophy for Ted Williams Most Valuable Player, in honor of former Red Sox great Ted Williams, who had died earlier that year. So Ward's name is still involved with the honor.

• They started choosing All-Star MVPs in 1962, the fourth and final year of two All-Star Games per season. Both were Los Angeles players that year -- Maury Wills for the Dodgers and Leon Wagner for the new Angels franchise. Fans had no say in that MVP matter, but you do now.

Only one pitcher has won the award since the fan vote was factored in, and there was an extra sentimental factor in his case because it was Yankees closer Mariano Rivera's All-Star swan song. Here's the list:

2003: Garret Anderson of the Angels
2004: Alfonso Soriano of the Rangers
2005: Miguel Tejada of the Orioles
2006: Michael Young of the Rangers
2007: Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners
2008: J.D. Drew of the Red Sox
2009: Carl Crawford of the Rays
2010: Brian McCann of the Braves
2011: Prince Fielder of the Tigers
2012: Melky Cabrera of the Giants
2013: Rivera.
2014 and '15: Trout.

The 87th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.