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All-Star balloting displays appreciation for Bonds
by Tracy Ringolsby
HOUSTON—Barry Bonds is still a fan favorite.
Forget about the media and don't spend too much time worrying about the BALCO controversy.
Bonds checked in with 2,952,237 votes in fan balloting for the All-Star Game, tops among National League outfielders and second overall among NL players to Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen, who received 3,187,710 votes. The only American League players who finished with more votes than Bonds—and remember in the AL fans have two fewer choices at each position because there are 14 teams instead of 16—were Rangers second baseman Alfonso Soriano (3,466,447 votes) and Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero (3,024,870).
"I guess they don't believe the stuff that's been written," Bonds said. "You have to work hard to get the votes. It means a lot on both ends. I worked hard and the fans appreciate what I do."
The 13-time all-star's peers held a similar opinion. NL players and managers cast more votes for Bonds than any other outfielder as he finished 189 votes ahead of the Astros' Lance Berkman. Bonds placed second overall on these ballots, 45 votes behind Rolen.
Only 21 of the 68 all-stars—including four added to replace injured stars—were in the uniform of the organization with which they have spent their entire careers. Technically, 20 all-stars were with the organization that originally signed them, but this is Kenny Rogers' third tour of duty with the Rangers, and Curt Schilling is back with the Red Sox, but he pitched for the Orioles, Astros, Phillies and Diamondbacks in between appearances for Boston.
It's another sign of the transient nature of baseball that all-stars move around so much. Gary Sheffield has been an all-star with the Padres, Dodgers, Marlins, Braves and now the Yankees, and don't forget he originally came up with the Brewers. Moises Alou made his fifth appearance, with his fourth different team. Originally signed by the Pirates, he has been an all-star for the Expos (1994), Marlins (1997), Astros (1998 and 2001) and now the Cubs.
Where Do All-Stars Come From?
The rosters provide little resolution for those still hung up on the high school versus college debate. Of the 68 all-stars, 19 came from four-year colleges and 18 from high schools. Latin American signees proved just as fruitful, providing 18 players. Ten came from junior colleges.
The final three signed out of Japan. You probably guessed Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui as two of the stars from the Far East, but Soriano counts as well because he originally signed with Hiroshima in 1994, four years before the Yankees purchased his contract from the Carp.
Tracy Ringolsby is the national baseball writer for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. You can contact him by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.