MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have not had an All-Star Game starter since Jeromy Burnitz was an injury replacement in 1999, and no player voted to the starting lineup by the fans since Paul Molitor in 1988. First baseman Prince Fielder is suddenly poised to end that drought and take part in the Midsummer Classic, which will be held Tuesday, July 10, at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Fielder jumped to the top of the list of National League first basemen when the latest round of online balloting results were released Monday. He led the way with 899,997 votes, 23,148 more than the Cardinals' Albert Pujols and 98,578 more than the Dodgers' Nomar Garciaparra. Last week, Fielder was in second place behind Pujols by about 50,000 votes.
"It's cool," Fielder said of his neck-and-neck race with Pujols. "Since I've been drafted, he's been the man. I'm just honored to be in the same category as him, to even have people consider me at all." The humility was typical Fielder. But his statistical resume shows Fielder belongs up there with the NL elite. Entering play Monday, the 23-year-old led all NL hitters with 25 home runs and a .637 slugging percentage and leads NL first baseman in runs scored (49), RBIs (54) and total bases (167). Fielder, who tallied an improbable inside-the-park home run in Minnesota on Sunday, has been a big part of the Brewers' resurgence this season. After winning consecutive Interleague series last week at Detroit and Minnesota, the team extended its lead in the NL Central. Fielder believes the team's performance has helped him climb the list of All-Star vote-getters. "It's a good thing," Fielder said. "That's why it's always important to win, because when you do, it means you and a lot of your teammates are having good years. That's what you want." Fielder was a fan of Major League All-Star festivities growing up, but admitted he paid much more attention to the Home Run Derby than the game itself. If asked, he would be a willing participant in this year's derby, Fielder said. He was not the only Brewer high on the list of vote-getters. J.J. Hardy was running second among NL shortstops with 761,471 votes, 256,422 behind the Mets' Jose Reyes. Second baseman Rickie Weeks and catcher Johnny Estrada ranked fourth at their respective positions. Fans can vote at Miller Park via paper ballots through Tuesday, but online balloting continues. Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2007 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until June 28, at 10:59 p.m. CT. Fans will again be given the opportunity to cast an All-Star vote immediately following the 2007 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Chevrolet, which will be televised by Turner Sports on Sunday, July 1. Baseball fans around the world will be able to select the final player on each All-Star team via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.