All-Star Vote Shows It Pays to Be Popular
Mike Schmidt and Jose Canseco proved again that when it comes to All-Star voting, popularity counts more than productivity.
Schmidt, retired since May 29, and Canseco, disabled all season, were elected Wednesday to start in next week’s All-Star game.
Schmidt became the first retired player elected. He is ineligible to play because he is in inactive, but he will be introduced in pregame ceremonies. Canseco, however, can play and plans to Tuesday night at Anaheim Stadium.
As for Schmidt, he says: “I’ll tip my hat to the crowd and get goose bumps one more time. I think that’s something I’ll always remember and always be proud of.”
Schmidt, seventh on the all-time home run list, won the closest race at any position, holding off Cincinnati’s Chris Sabo by 16,136 votes as the National League’s third baseman. Schmidt, who was batting .203 with six home runs and 28 RBIs when he retired, led Sabo by 87,000 votes going into the final week of fan ballotting.
National League President Bill White and NL All-Star Manager Tom Lasorda of the Dodgers will pick a replacement for Schmidt, an 11-time All-Star for Philadelphia. A starter does not have to be announced until game time.
All reserves and pitchers will be named today.
Canseco, last year’s American League most valuable player, has been out since spring training with a fractured wrist. He is playing for Oakland’s double-A Huntsville team on a rehabilitation assignment.
“The fans are and have been extremely supportive of me,” Canseco said. “They are the ones who vote for who they want to see in the game, their favorites, and obviously I’m one of their favorites.”
Canseco plans to make his 1989 major league debut Sunday, the Athletics’ final game before the break.
“At least I’ll play once before the All-Star game,” he said.
First baseman Will Clark of San Francisco led all vote-getters with 1,833,329 and will make his second start. Outfielder Bo Jackson of Kansas City got the most in the American League with 1,748,696 and will make his first appearance.
Darryl Strawberry of the New York Mets won a spot in the NL outfield for the fifth time, but will not play because of an injured toe.
“I know Darryl really would want to play and show his great allegiance to his fans, but in the best interests of the club, he really needs the rest to heal the toe,” Met Manager Davey Johnson said.
Only one race was decided in the final week. Texas’ Julio Franco overcame a 7,000-vote margin and passed Steve Sax of the New York Yankees as the AL’s second baseman by 27,000.
San Francisco’s Kevin Mitchell, leading the majors with 27 home runs and 75 RBIs, led NL outfielders. But Texas’ Ruben Sierra, who leads the AL with a .338 average and is tied with Franco for the league lead with 61 RBIs going into Wednesday’s games, finished sixth in the outfield.
Ozzie Smith of St. Louis will start for the seventh consecutive year as the NL’s shortstop. Baltimore’s Cal Ripken will start for the fifth time as the AL’s shortstop.
Oakland was the only team with three starters selected. Joining Canseco will be teammates Terry Steinbach at catcher and Mark McGwire at first base. Steinbach won a starting spot last year despite a .217 average and his election--like many of those by the fans--was loudly criticized although he wound up as the MVP of the game.
Also elected for the AL were Boston’s Wade Boggs at third base and Minnesota’s Kirby Puckett in the outfield.
For the NL, Benito Santiago of San Diego will start at catcher, Ryne Sandberg of Chicago at second base and Tony Gwynn of the Padres in the outfield.
Eleven of the 16 players elected earned bonuses, with Boggs getting the largest at $50,000. Earning $25,000 were Santiago, Mitchell, Strawberry, Gwynn, Steinbach, Franco, Jackson and Puckett. McGwire got $20,000 and Sandberg got $10,000.
Clark won by the biggest margin, more than 1.3 million votes over Pedro Guerrero of St. Louis. Clark is third in the league in hitting at .334, tied for sixth with 13 home runs and second with 59 RBIs.
Cincinnati’s Barry Larkin, second in the majors with a .353 average, finished nearly 1 million votes behind Smith.
Steinbach is batting .322 with four homers and 26 RBIs. He got more than 1 million votes, about twice as many as Baltimore catcher Mickey Tettleton, who has 20 homers, 51 RBIs and is hitting .263.
Seattle rookie Ken Griffey Jr. led all write-ins with 79,051 votes in the AL outfield. His father Ken Sr. of Cincinnati, got 262 write-in votes as an NL first baseman.
There were 6,051,313 votes cast, down from last year’s 6,146,477. Fan ballotting was resumed in 1970.
Oakland players made the strongest showing, finishing no lower than third at any position. In addition to Canseco, McGwire and Steinbach, second baseman Glenn Hubbard was third and injured shortstop Walt Weiss was second. Dave Henderson was seventh and Dave Parker was eighth in the outfield and Rickey Henderson traded last month from the Yankees to Oakland, was fifth.