Toronto Blue Jays All-Star Jose Bautista, the leading vote-getter in Major League Baseball, and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, who earned the top spot in the National League, will be among the starters in the 82nd All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 12th at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, and this year fans cast a record 32.5 million ballots, eclipsing the previous record of 23.5 million set in 2009. The 2011 American League and National League All-Star Teams were unveiled by TBS on the 2011 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Taco Bell.
The versatile Bautista, elected as an outfielder, received a record 7,454,753 votes, surpassing the previous mark of 6,069,688 for Ken Griffey, Jr. of the Seattle Mariners in 1994. Bautista, who leads the Major Leagues with 26 home runs, earns his second consecutive All-Star appearance and his first fan-elected start. The 30-year old Dominican native, who has recorded the most home runs (91) in the Majors since the 2009 All-Star break, is the first Blue Jay ever to finish as the top overall vote-getter in the Majors. In addition, Bautista is the first Jay to be elected to start by the fans since first baseman Carlos Delgado in 2003, the first Toronto outfielder elected by the fans since Joe Carter in 1994 and the first outfielder to be the leading vote-getter in the Majors since Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki in 2003. Braun, now a four-time All- Star, set a new N.L. record with 5,928,004 votes, surpassing the previous record (5,397,734) set by Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009. This is Braun’s fourth consecutive fan-elected start in the Midsummer Classic, becoming the first N.L. outfielder to accomplish the feat since Barry Bonds was elected to start five straight from 2000-2004.
Braun will be joined on the N.L. squad by a pair of Milwaukee teammates – first baseman Prince Fielder and second baseman Rickie Weeks, both of whom overcame deficits in the final two weeks of voting to claim a starting job. Fielder surged in the closing week to draw 4,864,523 votes, holding off two peers who have won the last three N.L. Most Valuable Player Awards, Joey Votto (4,254,305) of the Cincinnati Reds and Pujols (4,171,094), who had started the last two All-Star Games. Fielder, who leads the N.L. with 69 RBI, gains his third All-Star selection and second start. Weeks, who passed Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips for the top spot last week, earns his first career All-Star selection with 4,460,395 votes, ahead of his N.L. Central rival, who totaled 4,273,079.
On the left side of the infield, New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes tallied 4,707,976 votes to come from behind and beat out Troy Tulowitzki (3,932,000) of the Colorado Rockies, who had been leading at the position from the outset. Reyes, who leads the Majors with a .354 batting average, claims his fourth All-Star nod and third fanelected start to end the reign of Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who started each of the previous three Midsummer Classics. Philadelphia Phillies third baseman PlacidoPolanco rounds out the infield after receiving 4,410,701 votes to top his N.L. East rival Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves. With the election, Polanco gains his second All-Star appearance and second starting assignment after starting at second base for the A.L. in 2007. In addition, he joins Scott Rolen (2002) as the only Phillies third baseman other than Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt to draw a fan-elected start at the hot corner.
Joining Braun in the N.L. outfield will be Cardinals switch-hitting slugger LanceBerkman, who makes his sixth All-Star appearance and second fan-elected start. Berkman, who collected 4,345,766 votes, is just the fifth Cardinals outfielder to earn a fan-elected start, joining Lou Brock (1975), Vince Coleman (1988), Pujols (2003) and Jim Edmonds (2005). Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp (4,293,626) surpassed Berkman’s St. Louis teammate Matt Holliday (3,948,268) in the final week of voting following a sizzling month of June (.375, 9 HR, 23 RBI, 6 2B, 2 3B, 18 R, .795 SLG). The All-Star selection is the first of Kemp’s career, and he joins teammate Andre Ethier (2010) and Darryl Strawberry (1991) as the only fan-elected Dodger outfielders in the last 30 years.
Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann (4,698,838), the 2010 All-Star Game MVP, will make his first fan-elected start among his six career All-Star appearances after finishing ahead of Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina (2,972,786), who started each of the last two All-Star Games behind the plate for the N.L. McCann, who leads all Major League catchers with 14 home runs this season, joins Javy Lopez (2003) as the only Braves catchers to be elected to start a Midsummer Classic.
In the American League, starting behind the plate will be Alex Avila of the Detroit Tigers, who displaced Russell Martin (3,646,033) of the New York Yankees in the final week of voting. Avila, who leads all A.L. catchers with a .299 batting average, 16 doubles, 46 RBI and a .531 slugging percentage, earned 4,144,384 votes on his way to his first All-Star selection, ending the three-year starting streak of Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer.
Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz collected his fifth career fan-election and his seventh berth overall after tallying 6,324,793 votes, good for fourth-most in the Majors. Ortiz, who finished ahead of Michael Young (3,072,467) of the Texas Rangers, became the fifth Red Sox player ever to hit 300 home runs with the club earlier this season, joining the Hall of Fame trio of Jim Rice, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski along with Dwight Evans.
Ortiz’s Red Sox teammate Adrian Gonzalez will make his first A.L. All-Star appearance and first Midsummer Classic start following three career N.L. All-Star nods. Gonzalez becomes the fourth fan-elected Boston first baseman in the last six years, joining Ortiz (2006-07) and Kevin Youkilis (2008). Gonzalez, who leads the Majors with 74 RBI and the A.L. with a .353 batting average, gained 6,034,533 votes to beat out Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (4,174,690). Teixeira’s teammates, including second baseman Robinson Cano, shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez, make up the remainder of the A.L. infield. It is the first time that one team is represented in the infield by at least three players since the Yankees had Jason Giambi, Jeter and Rodriguez accomplish the feat in 2004 in Houston. Cano finished ahead of Boston’s Dustin Pedroia (4,391,835) and was third in the Majors with 6,679,976 votes to claim his third All-Star selection and second consecutive fan-elected start.
Jeter (4,536,386), who is currently six hits shy of becoming the 28th player in Major League history to 3,000 hits, beat out Asdrubal Cabrera (4,073,992) of the Cleveland Indians to earn his 12th career trip to the Midsummer Classic and his seventh fan-elected start, including his sixth straight. With the sixth consecutive fan election, Jeter joins 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 six straight All-Star Games. Rodriguez (5,277,823) finished in front of Adrian Beltre (4,036,191) of the Rangers to produce his 13th career All-Star selection and 12th fan-elected start. Rodriguez, who now has six fan-elected starts at shortstop and six at third base, joins Ripken, Jr. (17), Rod Carew (15), Griffey, Jr. (13), Bonds (12), Ivan Rodriguez (12) and Smith (12) as the only players in history to earn at least 12 fan elections.
Rounding out the A.L. starting squad in the outfield with Bautista are Curtis Granderson of the Yankees and Josh Hamilton of the Rangers. Granderson, who will make his second All-Star appearance and first fan-elected start, claimed 6,683,877 votes to finish with the second-highest vote total of all-time behind Bautista. Hamilton collected 4,646,394 votes to edge out Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury (4,609,667) for his fourth consecutive starting assignment, joining Ivan Rodriguez (nine fan elections) as the only other Ranger ever to win at least four fan elections.
More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots were distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which had 23 home dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks. Every Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than Tuesday, May 10th.
Firestone, the official tire of MLB, was once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2011 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot featured an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will win a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including hotel, airfare, tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events, and a set of four Firestone tires.
Scotts, the official lawn care company of MLB, was once again the sponsor of the retail All-Star Balloting Program, which began on May 10th at more than 1,700 Lowes stores across the country. The Scotts ballot featured an All-Star sweepstakes, where a winner and one guest will win a trip to the MLB All-Star Week including hotel, airfare, tickets to the All-Star Game, and a $500 MasterCard gift card.
Banco BHD sponsored All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available online at lasmayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball, and at All-Star balloting terminals across more than 80 branches, through June 30th.
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 – National League manager Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants and American League skipper Ron Washington of the Rangers – in conjunction with Major League Baseball.
Fans can now begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint, casting their votes exclusively online at MLB.com from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period. The winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 7th. Now in its seventh year, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on their mobile phones, courtesy of Sprint.
The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT)/5:00 p.m. (local). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All- Star Game coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or dbacks.com/asg.