— Where BTF's Members Investigate the Grand Old Game
Monday, July 14, 2003
The Baseball Primer All-Stars
The Primer contributors pick their midseason favorites.
The Primer Staff voted again this year for our own version of the All-Star team. The vote is kept relatively wide-open, with few rules; voters are asked to name starters (including starting pitchers) and bench players, and 32 players from each league are selected. Most voters choose to respect the one-player-per-team rule, but some don’t and we don’t fault them for it.
Our All-Stars are listed below. The starters are chosen solely on the basis of “Starter Votes”, while the backups are chosen on the basis of overall ballot mentions (as a starter or as a reserve). I don’t feel bound to select one player from each team in this process, though almost all teams are represented here anyway. However, I did pick 12 pitchers as the managers were instructed to.
15 of us voted and if you rearrange the first letters in our names just right, you can spell “DR. JETS, BMW CADGER.” Without further ado, then:
Jorge Posada, New York Yankees
There were a lot of very close votes for the AL starters, with several one-vote margins but also two unanimous selections. Posada won 8-7 over Jason Varitek at catcher in a rather stirring come-from-behind victory, and Blalock 6-5 over Corey Koskie at third base after building up an early lead. Melvin Mora also won out by one vote over Garrett Anderson and Milton Bradley. The unanimous selections were Delgado at first and Boone at second; Manny Ramirez was very nearly a third but the last vote submitted left him off completely!
Javy Lopez, Atlanta Braves
Most voters did not select a designated hitter for the NL (as it should be), but clearly the choice of the voters would have Pujols or Gary Sheffield. There were some close votes again; Brown just pipped Jason Schmidt of the Giants by a single vote at pitcher, and Pujols only edged Gary Sheffield by a single outfield vote, although counting up all the votes Pujols was only left off a single ballot as a starter. Lowell also survived a furious comeback by Scott Rolen at third base, winning an 8-7 tally. If that vote had gone the other way, there could have been four Cardinal starters. Other than those votes, the votes were all blowouts, but only one unanimous choice: Jose Vidro swept all the votes at second base. Even Barry Bonds couldn’t command one of the three starting outfield spots on one voter’s ballot.
Jason Varitek, Boston
The “injury replacement”, who had been assured of a spot before losing three votes to Corey Koskie in the last four voters to submit, will be Mike Sweeney. Koskie almost missed the team, despite handily beating Bill Mueller in the starter voting. Aubrey Huff was also extremely close, and Eric Byrnes received substantial support in the voting.
Jamie Moyer, Seattle
Mark Mulder, Oakland
Clemens and Mariano Rivera actually finished tied in the voting, with nothing to select between them, so I selected Clemens, with Rivera qualifying as the top “injury replacement”. The other pitchers who were closest to making it were two Mariners, Gil Meche and Shigetoshi Hasegawa. Interestingly, starter Loaiza was the only AL pitcher who appeared on every ballot, which goes to show how fierce the competition for spots in the AL pen was.
Ivan Rodriguez, Florida
The “injury replacement” would be Ryan Klesko, who was only fourth in voting for first basemen but nearly beat out Durham and Kent. The nearest misses other than Klesko were Jose Guillen, Austin Kearns, and Paul Lo Duca.
Jason Schmidt, San Francisco
The nearest miss among the NL pitchers was Miguel Batista, who lost a coin flip to Shawn Chacon after both had drawn 5 votes. Jae Seo and Armando Benitez of the Mets were other pitchers who came close to making the team. In fact, neither Batista or Chacon would be on the team wereit not for the 12-pitcher rule, as Klesko, Durham, Guillen and Kent all pulled more votes.
The Primer Staff managed to elect a lot of the players for whom a “snub” has been claimed, although we drew the line at Sammy Sosa (who only got four out of 15 votes). Dontrelle Willis, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Milton Bradley, Ivan Rodriguez, Jim Thome are examples. In all, of the 64 players selected, 47 (plus injury replacement Kerry Wood) were named to the MLB All-Stars.