06/28/2004 4:00 PM ET
NL shortstop race tightest in history
Renteria in front of Everett by six votes in All-Star voting
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
|Edgar Renteria has been more patient since moving to the second spot in the lineup. (Ed Zurga/AP)
Score it six with an assist from the fans on your All-Star scorecard.
With two days remaining before the polls close, St. Louis shortstop Edgar Renteria leads Houston's Adam Everett by a scant six votes in the closest All-Star voting race in history.
Despite a record number of voters and an unprecedented 10 National Leaguers receiving at least one million votes already, fans are witnessing the tightest position battle since they were first given the vote in 1947.
According to the latest voting update released by Major League Baseball, the Cards' two-time Gold Glove winner leads Everett, 986,688 to 986,682, in the campaign to be the starting shortstop of the July 13 Midsummer Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Fans can cast their votes up to 25 times with the Ameriquest All-Star Online Ballot, which is available exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 club sites. Online balloting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 30.
Two of Renteria's teammates enjoy comfortable leads at their respective positions. First baseman Albert Pujols widened his lead over Houston's Jeff Bagwell and now leads the Astro slugger by more than 300,000 votes. Cardinal third baseman Scott Rolen, with 1,811,831, leads Aramis Ramirez of the Cubs by more than one million votes.
Houston's Jeff Kent owns the biggest lead of any of the position battles. Kent, who trails only San Francisco left fielder Barry Bonds (2,028,148) and Cincinnati center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. (1,864,669) for the most votes in the league, leads Luis Castillo of Florida by more than 1.2 million votes. Castillo passed Marcus Giles of Atlanta for second place in the second base campaign.
At catcher, Mike Piazza of the New York Mets leads Houston's Brad Ausmus by more than 700,000 votes. Piazza, with 22,697,949, needs fewer than 13,000 ballots to pass Carlton Fisk (22,710,613) as the all-time vote leader among catchers.
Chicago's Sammy Sosa is holding the third outfield spot behind Bonds and Griffey. The Cub right fielder holds an advantage of approximately 300,000 votes over Lance Berkman of Houston and just under 500,000 over Craig Biggio of the Astros.
Bonds became the first National Leaguer to top two million votes this year. Three more players -- the Astros' trio of Berkman, Biggio and Bagwell -- topped the one million mark during the past week, joining Kent, Bonds, Griffey, Pujols, Rolen, Piazza and Sosa.
The starters and reserves will be announced July 4, and fans will once again be able to determine the 32nd men for each league with the Ameriquest All-Star Final Vote.
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.