Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, the 2012 leading vote-getter in Major League Baseball, and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, who led the National League in All-Star voting, will be among the starters in the 83rd All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 10th at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, and this year fans cast a record 40.2 million ballots, smashing the previous record of 32.5 million set last year. The 2012 American League and National League All-Star Teams were unveiled this afternoon on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Taco Bell on TBS.
Hamilton, the 2010 A.L. MVP, received a record 11,073,744 votes, shattering the previous mark of 7,454,753 set in 2011 for Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who is also among this year’s A.L. starters. Hamilton, who leads the Majors with 73 RBI and a .652 slugging percentage, is the third Ranger ever to finish as the top overall vote-getter in the Majors, joining Ivan Rodriguez (2,808,456 in 2000) and Alfonso Soriano (3,466,447 in 2004). This marks the fifth consecutive fan-elected start for Hamilton, who becomes the sixth A.L. outfielder to accomplish the feat, and the first since Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki (2006-2010). In addition, Hamilton becomes just the second Ranger ever to earn a fan-elected start in as many as five straight All-Star Games, joining Rodriguez, who was elected by the fans to start nine consecutive Midsummer Classics from 1993-2001.
Posey, who tallied 7,621,370 votes, set a new N.L. single-season balloting mark, eclipsing the 5,928,004 votes for Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun in 2011. Posey outgained St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (5,118,865) and came from behind in the final week to notch the top overall spot in the N.L. The 2010 N.L. Rookie of the Year, who leads the Giants with 10 home runs and 40 RBI, is set to make his Midsummer Classic debut as he becomes the first Giants catcher to be elected to start by the fans. Among N.L. catchers, the 25-year-old ranks third in doubles (14) and fourth in home runs, RBI and batting (.296).
Posey is joined in the N.L. starting lineup by teammates Pablo Sandoval and Melky Cabrera, who each overcame deficits in the final week of voting to claim a starting assignment. Sandoval, who garnered 5,743,542 votes, displaced New York Mets third baseman David Wright (4,133,380) after surging in the final week to make up a deficit of nearly 465,000 votes. Sandoval, an All-Star for the second consecutive season, becomes just the second Giants third baseman to earn a fan-elected start, joining Matt Williams (1994-96), and he is the first Giants infielder to be selected to start by the fans since second baseman Jeff Kent and shortstop Rich Aurilia in 2001. Cabrera, who entered the final week over 120,000 votes behind Braun for third place among N.L. outfielders, received 7,521,784 votes to finish as the top vote-getter in the N.L. outfield and earn a trip to Kansas City, where he played last season. The first-time All-Star, who leads the Majors with 109 hits and 35 multi-hit games, joins Hall of Famer Willie Mays (1970-71), Kevin Mitchell (1989-90) and Barry Bonds (1993-96, ‘98, 2000-04, ‘07) as the only Giants outfielders to earn fan-elected starts in the Midsummer Classic. This marks the second time since balloting began in 1970 that the Giants send three fan-elected starters to the All-Star Game, joining 2001 (Aurilia, Bonds, Kent).
Cabrera is joined in the outfield by Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Beltran, who totaled 6,469,408 votes, is an All-Star for the seventh time, including starting assignments from 2005-07 and 2009, when he was replaced due to injury. In addition, Beltran was selected by 2011 N.L. All-Star manager Bruce Bochy to serve as the N.L.’s starting designated hitter in Arizona last year. The Puerto Rico native, who leads the N.L. with 61 RBI and ranks second with 20 home runs, collected his 2,000th career hit with an RBI-single on Friday night against Pittsburgh. Kemp (5,462,757), who is the N.L. captain for the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby, has been selected by the fans to start his second consecutive All-Star Game. The Dodgers have now had an outfielder selected to start by the fans in three consecutive years for the first time since balloting began in 1970 (also Andre Ethier in 2010).
Joining Hamilton and Bautista in the A.L. outfield will be Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees, who finished second at the position with 5,587,026 votes. Granderson, who is set to make his third All-Star appearance and second consecutive fan-elected start, becomes the first Yankees outfielder to earn back-to-back fan-elected starts since Hall of Famers Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield in 1987-88. Granderson, who hit his team-leading 23rd home run of the season on Saturday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox, ranks second in the Majors with 64 home runs since the start of the 2011 season. The only player in Baseball to hit more in that span is Bautista (69), who finished third among A.L. outfielders with 4,971,155 votes. The 31-year-old, who leads the Majors with 26 home runs this season, will also be making his third Midsummer Classic appearance and second consecutive start, becoming the first Blue Jays outfielder to earn back-to-back fan elected starting nods since Joe Carter in 1993-94. Hamilton, Granderson and Bautista are just the second trio of A.L. outfielders to be fan-elected in consecutive years, joining Joe Carter, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Kirby Puckett (1993-94).
Granderson is joined on the A.L. squad by a pair of Yankees teammates – shortstop Derek Jeter and second baseman Robinson Cano. Jeter, who received 6,656,949 votes to top Elvis Andrus of the Rangers (4,065,719), is an All-Star for the 13th time in his career and a fan-elected starter for a seventh consecutive time and an eighth time overall. Jeter joins Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr. (A.L., eight straight, 1989-96) and Ozzie Smith (N.L., 10 straight, 1983-92) as the only shortstops named to start at least seven straight Midsummer Classics. In addition, the 38-year-old becomes the fifth A.L. infielder ever to earn at least seven consecutive fan-elected starts at one position, joining Ripken; Rod Carew (1B, nine straight, 1976-84); George Brett (3B, 11 straight, 1976-86); and his one-time teammate Wade Boggs (3B, 10 straight, 1987-96). Cano (5,806,958), who finished ahead of Ian Kinsler (4,967,247) of the Rangers, earns a trip to his fourth All-Star Game and has been selected to start by the fans for a third consecutive year. Cano becomes the first Yankees second baseman to earn three straight fan-elected starts, and he is the first A.L. second baseman to do so while representing the same club since Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar from 1996-98 for the Baltimore Orioles. Jeter and Cano, who, in 2011, became the first pair of A.L. teammates up the middle to earn two fan-elected All-Star starts together, join Cincinnati’s Joe Morgan and Dave Concepcion (1975-77) as the only pair of teammates up the middle to accomplish the feat three times together. The Yankees now have at least three fan-elected starters for a second consecutive year, and they have had at least one player selected by the fans in 11 consecutive seasons (since 2002).
Joining Jeter and Cano in the A.L. infield are Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder (4,574,347) and Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre (4,613,180). Fielder, now a four-time All-Star, will make his A.L. debut after outgaining Paul Konerko (3,494,305) of the Chicago White Sox. Fielder, the 2011 Ted Williams All-Star Game MVP presented by Chevrolet, becomes the first Tigers first baseman to ever win a fan-elected start, and just the fourth Tigers infielder to do so, joining Lou Whitaker (2B, 1984-86); Alan Trammell (SS, 1988); and Placido Polanco (2B, 2007). Beltre becomes the first-ever Rangers third baseman to draw a fan-elected start after beating out Fielder’s Detroit teammate Miguel Cabrera (4,196,585). The three-time All-Star, who has now registered 13 consecutive seasons with at least 50 RBI, replaced Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees in the starting lineup at the 2011 Midsummer Classic.
Rangers backstop Mike Napoli (4,317,718) and Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (4,986,979) round out the starters for the A.L. squad. Napoli, who topped Joe Mauer (2,922,422) of the Minnesota Twins, will make his Midsummer Classic debut and join Ivan Rodriguez (1993-2001) as the only catchers in franchise history to draw fan-elected starts. Napoli, who is tied for second among A.L. catchers with 35 runs scored and third with 12 home runs, becomes the third Ranger starter this year, marking the first time that Texas has at least three fan-elected starters in an All-Star Game. Ortiz becomes an All-Star for the eighth time after beating out Michael Young (3,604,042) of the Rangers. It marks the sixth fan-elected start for the 36-year-old, including his fourth at designated hitter. Ortiz, who leads the Red Sox with 21 home runs and 53 RBI, paces the A.L. with 45 extra-base hits, which ranks second in the Majors behind Votto (47). In addition, he is one home run shy of 400 career home runs and will become the eighth active player to reach the mark. The Red Sox now have one fan-elected starter in 11 of the last 12 seasons, with 2010 being the lone exception.
Joining Sandoval in the N.L. infield will be Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (7,343,110), Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (3,831,375) and Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal (3,972,921). Votto, who outpaced Brandon Belt (3,912,945) of the Giants, will make his third consecutive All-Star appearance and first career fan-elected start. The 2010 N.L. MVP becomes the first Reds first baseman to be elected to start by the fans and the first Reds infielder to do so since 2012 Hall of Fame Inductee Barry Larkin in 2000. Votto, who leads the Majors with 33 doubles is on pace for a Major League record 69 doubles, which would surpass the 67 hit by Boston’s Earl Webb in 1931. In addition, Votto could break Cincinnati’s single-season doubles mark of 51, set by Hall of Famer Frank Robinson in 1962 and matched by Pete Rose in 1978. Uggla earns his third All-Star selection and first fan-elected start after beating out Votto’s Cincinnati teammate Brandon Phillips (3,164,460). Uggla, who leads all Major League second basemen with 201 home runs since 2006, joins Marcus Giles (2003) as the only Braves second basemen to earn a fan-elected start. The 32-year-old, who leads all N.L. second basemen with 51 runs scored, has started 75 of Atlanta’s 76 games this season. The Braves now have a fan-elected starter for the third consecutive year, following outfielder Jason Heyward in 2010 and catcher Brian McCann in 2011. Furcal, who leads the N.L. with 31 RBI from the lead-off position, held off a final week surge by Brandon Crawford (3,666,897) of the Giants to receive his third All-Star nod and first fan-elected start. He joins Ozzie Smith (1983-92), Edgar Renteria (2003-04) and David Eckstein (2005) as the only Cardinals shortstops to earn a starting assignment. With elections for Furcal and Beltran, St. Louis has now had at least two fan-elected starters for the 10th time in team history and the third time in the last four years.
More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots were distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which had 23 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks. After the in-stadium phase of balloting concluded on Friday, June 22nd, fans still had the opportunity to cast their votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively online at MLB.com, the 30 Club Web sites and their mobile devices until Thursday, June 28th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).
Firestone, the official tire of MLB, was once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2012 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot featured an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations, tickets to the All-Star Game and other All-Star Week events.
Scotts, the official lawn care company of MLB, was once again the sponsor of the retail All-Star Balloting Program, which launched on May 4th in select Lowe’s stores and Chevrolet dealerships across the country. The Scotts ballot included an opportunity to enter for a chance to win a baseball field makeover using Scotts products for your community.
Banco BHD sponsored All-Star Balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball, and at All-Star Balloting terminals across more than 80 branches. Coors Light provided offline All-Star Balloting in 60 Wal-Mart and Amigo convenience stores throughout Puerto Rico, through June 10th.
The American League All-Star Team has nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the National League All-Star Team has eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – were determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – A.L. skipper Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers and N.L. manager Tony La Russa – in conjunction with Major League Baseball.
Fans can now begin to vote to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote sponsored by Firestone. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 5th. Now in its eighth year, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on their mobile phones.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, July 10th. The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT)/6:30 p.m. (CDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.