CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

A look back at All-Star balloting in '06

A look back at All-Star balloting in '06

Jason Bay certainly had the home-field advantage in last year's All-Star balloting. Pirates fans so much wanted to see one of their own on the field at Pittsburgh's PNC Park the night of July 11 that they gave the Pirates outfielder the second-highest vote total of any National League player.

Only Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, who was the leading vote-getter overall with 3,418,555 votes, had a higher total among NL players than Bay, who received 2,635,930 votes to finish first among the outfielders with a margin of 87,186 over Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran.

The closest race in the voting was for the third outfield spot. Alfonso Soriano, then with the Nationals, beat out the Reds' Ken Griffey Jr. by only 16,072 votes.

Pujols was joined in the NL infield by three first-time All-Stars -- second baseman Chase Utley of the Phillies and shortstop Jose Reyes and third baseman David Wright, both of the Mets. Utley beat out Astros veteran Craig Biggio by 187,022 votes.

Paul Lo Duca was the fourth Mets player voted onto the NL squad by beating out former Mets catcher Mike Piazza, then with the Padres. It marked the fourth consecutive All-Star start for Lo Duca, who did so for his third team. He had started in 2005 with the Marlins, and in '04 and '03 with the Dodgers.

Pujols' top finish among first basemen was by nearly two million votes over the Mets' Carlos Delgado. The Phillies' Ryan Howard, who won the Home Run Derby on the All-Star workout day and would eventually win the NL Most Valuable Player Award over Pujols, finished sixth in the balloting with less than one million votes (965,731).

Of Pujols' leading vote total, 84 percent came from online voters (2,886,537).

The top vote-getter in the American League was Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez with 3,101,161, who was joined in the outfield by the Angels' Vlad Guerrero and the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki.

Ramirez was one of three Red Sox players in the starting lineup, along with first baseman David Ortiz and second baseman Mark Loretta -- now with the Astros. With the game in an NL park, there was no category for designated hitters, so Ortiz was listed as a first baseman and had 2,734,999 votes, more than one million more than runnerup Jason Giambi of the Yankees.

It was a much tighter finish for Loretta, who was trailing going into the final week of voting, but moved past the Yankees' Robinson Cano by 88,401 votes.

While the right side of the infield featured two Red Sox players, the left side was comprised of two Yankees players: third baseman Alex Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter -- both of whom won handily.

The tightest race in the AL was behind the plate. The Tigers' Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez earned his 11th start by coming from behind to overtake the Red Sox's Jason Varitek, who finished third, and outpoll runnerup Joe Mauer of the Twins by 16,812 votes.

In addition to selecting the starting lineup, fans finished off the roster by choosing the 32nd player on each squad. White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski won in the AL over Twins pitcher Nelson Liriano, Indians DH Travis Hafner, Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez. In the NL, Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra was voted onto the team over Brewers pitcher Chris Capuano, then-Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu, Mets reliever Billy Wagner and Padres pitcher Chris Young.

Fans around the world will again have the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote. The vote will begin immediately following the 2007 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Chevrolet, which will be televised by Turner Sports on Sunday, July 1.

Selecting the rosters isn't the end of the fun in 2007, either. Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote at MLB.com.

The All-Star Game 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 offer extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will have exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.

Jack O'Connell is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}