BY: Dic Humphrey
The Texas Rangers were the first team in baseball to reach 50 wins for the season, and the reason is obvious – they have a lot of good players, as seven have made the American League All-Star team, which will be managed by Ranger manager Ron Washington. Three of the seven Rangers are starters elected through the vote of fans. The Yankees also have three starters elected through by the fans, who voted in record numbers. Almost 400 million votes on 34.9 ballots were cast, including a one-day record of 4.2 million ballots on June 28.
Josh Hamilton led all vote getters garnering more than 11 million votes to claim one of the starting outfield spots. Hamilton is an All-Star for the fifth time. He is joined in the starting lineup by Adrian Beltre and catcher Mike Napoli. Beltre has twice previously made an All-Star team, while Napoli is a first time All-Star. Beltre will be starting at third base for the second consecutive year. The Yankees that were elected to start are Derek Jeter at shortstop, outfielder Curtis Granderson and second baseman Robinson Cano. The three elected starters that are not Rangers or Yankees are Detroit’s Prince Fielder at first base, Toronto outfielder Jose Batista and Boston designated hitter David Ortiz.
The reserves include the Rangers’ double play combination. Elvis Andrus is an All-Star for the second time while Ian Kinsler is now a three time All-Star.
Two Ranger pitchers were named to the squad. Matt Harrison, tied for the league lead with 11 wins, was named, as was closer Joe Nathan. Harrison is an All-Star for the first time, while Nathan, who has 18 saves in 19 opportunities, is now a five time All-Star. This is the third year in a row that at least two Ranger pitchers have made the All-Star team.
The Texas Rangers ended up with seven All-Stars for the first time in club history. Yu Darvish could increase that total to eight, as he is one of the five candidates for the 34th roster spot, which will be selected by vote of the fans. The other four candidates are also pitchers. Normally, there are further All-Star replacements due to injuries after the All-Star rosters are announced.
This year’s All-Star game is the 83rd and will be played in Kansas City. It is the third time Kansas City has hosted the All-Star game, following 1960, when the Kansas City team was the Athletics who played their games in Municipal Stadium, and 1973, which was played in Royals stadium. The National League has won the All-Star game the past two seasons to claim home field advantage in the World Series. The American League won 13 consecutive All-Star games prior to 2010. The FOX television network will televise the game.