On Tuesday, the 16 position-player starters for next Tuesday’s All-Star
Game in Atlanta were announced. The results of the fan balloting were, as
usual, difficult to argue with. Even Craig Biggio lost his spot down
the stretch, as Jeff Kent beat him out for the NL’s second-base job.
So, rather than wait for the leagues to announce the remaining 40 honorees,
I figured I’d give you my best guess. And before you start writing,
remember: this is a predictive exercise. I’m giving you I think will go,
not who I think deserves the honor. They’re listed team-by-team,
because…well, because I have a toothache and it’s easiest.
Anaheim: Darin Erstad, Troy Glaus*
Baltimore: Charles Johnson
Boston: Nomar Garciaparra, Carl Everett*, Pedro
Martinez, Derek Lowe
Chicago: Magglio Ordonez, James Baldwin, Cal Eldred,
Cleveland: Travis Fryman
Detroit: Bobby Higginson, Todd Jones
Minnesota: Matt Lawton
Oakland: Tim Hudson
Seattle: Edgar Martinez, Aaron Sele
Tampa Bay: Greg Vaughn
Texas: Luis Alicea
Toronto: Carlos Delgado, David Wells
There are actually 22 players listed here. Troy Glaus will start for Cal
Ripken and Carl Everett for Manny Ramirez. Taking their places
on the roster will be Travis Fryman and Bobby Higginson.
The hardest call? Which first basemen/DHs to leave off. There are at least
four legitimate candidates, and I could fit three at most. Mike
Sweeney and Frank Thomas were the odd men out here, although I
wouldn’t be surprised to see either make the team. Finding a backup second
baseman wasn’t easy, either, with Luis Alicea making it over Delino
Frankly, I couldn’t find enough pitchers. Cal Eldred got the last spot, and
I suppose it could go to Mike Mussina or Chuck Finley.
Roberto Hernandez has been mentioned as Tampa Bay’s representative,
but he has neither the performance nor the saves to justify a selection.
Brad Radke instead of Matt Lawton would be a surprise, but a good
one, and would free up a roster spot for one of the aforementioned first
basemen. Nine pitchers is fairly low, so we could see Eldred and one of
On to the National League:
Arizona: Randy Johnson
Atlanta: Andres Galarraga, Greg Maddux
Cincinnati: Danny Graves
Colorado: Todd Helton, Jeff Cirillo
Florida: Ryan Dempster
Houston: Richard Hidalgo
Los Angeles: Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown
Milwaukee: Bob Wickman
Montreal: Jose Vidro, Vladimir Guerrero
New York: Edgardo Alfonzo, Al Leiter
Philadelphia: Mike Lieberthal
Pittsburgh: Brian Giles, Kris Benson
St. Louis: Jim Edmonds
San Diego: Trevor Hoffman
First of all, there is no backup shortstop. I know. If there’s an in-game
need, Edgardo Alfonzo can hang out there for an inning or three. Given the
qualified players already getting bounced, there was no case to be made for
Edgar Renteria over the guys on this list.
The late surge by Jeff Kent created some roster problems. Craig Biggio
would have been the token Astro, with Kent, Alfonzo and Vidro still making
the team. Now, the Astros get Richard Hidalgo, but I suppose the spot could
go to Jeff Bagwell.
Andres Galarraga makes the team for his performance, yes, but also for the
great story behind it and for the location of the game. He deserves the
There are so many players who deserve to be on the team who aren’t on the
above list that I expect to be wrong in a few cases. Byung-Hyun Kim,
Andruw Jones, Shawn Green, Jason Kendall and Steve
Finley are among the names not listed above who could be announced
today without any complaint by me.
Joe Sheehan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.