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All-Star votes follow Beltran to NL
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06/24/2004 11:48 PM ET
All-Star votes follow Beltran to NL
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Carlos Beltran drops from seventh place among AL outfielders to eighth place among NL outfielders (Charlie Riedel/AP)
Now that the Houston Astros have made their blockbuster move to acquire Carlos Beltran from Kansas City Thursday night, the next question is whether his brand-new fans can help vote him into their own All-Star Game party on July 13 at Minute Maid Park with less than a week remaining to determine the starters.

It also is time to see whether fans in Houston can keep up with what could become a game of All-Star musical chairs -- depending on what kind of ripple effect the Beltran trade has on a lineup filled with contenders.

Major League Baseball rules state that a player's latest All-Star vote total always follows him after an in-season trade, so Beltran actually drops from seventh place among American League outfielders to eighth place among National League outfielders. Ironically, Beltran's latest total of 551,243 votes puts him right behind Richard Hidalgo -- who was traded by Houston to the Mets earlier this month.

Fans can vote up to 25 times in the Ameriquest All-Star Online Ballot, which is available exclusively at and the 30 official club sites. Online voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 30, and it is important to note that any fan wanting to vote for Beltran as a starter must still look for him on the AL portion of the ballot.

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Beltran, considered one of the best all-around players in the game, was hitting .278 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs at the time of the three-way deal that also sent Astros closer Octavio Dotel to the Royals and then onto Oakland. He moves to a league where, in the latest outfield balloting update, Barry Bonds (1,502,397 votes), Ken Griffey Jr. (1,325,664) and Sammy Sosa (1,124,623) are on course to make the first-ever all-500 Home Run Club starting combination. After that trio are Astros Lance Berkman (904,031) and Craig Biggio (788,530), followed by Moises Alou (687,750) and Hidalgo (583,979).

If Beltran does not make a last-week leap into the starting lineup -- and dramatic late changes are more possible than ever because of an ongoing daily balloting blitz that already has shattered voting records -- then it probably would be up to NL manager Jack McKeon, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, to make him one of those final roster additions after the Player Ballot is conducted.

That Player Ballot is conducted simultaneous to the last week of exclusive online balloting -- which is going on right now -- so presumably Beltran has no realistic shot at being added as a reserve via the Player Ballot. If Astro fans are unable to rally quickly enough to vote him in as a starter, and if he is not a reserve selection when 31 NL All-Stars are announced on Sunday, July 4, then here is another intriguing possibility to consider: He could be one of your five NL choices in the third annual All-Star Online Final Vote, sponsored by Ameriquest, that will allow you to determine the 32nd and final member of each league roster. That three-day balloting procedure, which drew a record 10.6 million votes last year to send Jason Varitek of Boston and Geoff Jenkins of Milwaukee to the Midsummer Classic, will begin immediately after the July 4 announcement. McKeon and MLB will determine those five NL names.

The bottom line for Astros fans to know is that a player's All-Star votes follow him after a trade, and that a player's position on a ballot doesn't change even if that player makes an in-season position change. That is worth noting because of the many Astro lineup scenarios that are now being floated in the wake of this trade, given that Beltran becomes the club's regular center fielder. Biggio moves to left, Berkman shifts to right RF, Beltran in CF, and Jason Lane heads back to the bench.

In the AL, Beltran's departure means that Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams moves up from eighth place to seventh in outfield voting. He has 407,209 votes, behind Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki at 585,460. Minnesota's Torii Hunter is immediately behind Williams with 370,150 votes.

Beltran's move brings to mind the deal near this time last season when Boston sent third baseman Shea Hillenbrand to Arizona. Hillenbrand had been among the AL vote leaders at third base, and when his vote totals followed him to the NL, he suddenly ranked immediately behind Scott Rolen, the eventual NL starter at third.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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