07/04/2004 7:00 PM ET
Kendall competes for Final Vote
Catcher has been named to three All-Star Games
By Ed Eagle / MLB.com
|Jason Kendall is batting .312 with two home runs and 30 RBIs this year. (Jeff Chiu/AP)
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates catcher Jason Kendall has been selected to represent the National League in the All-Star game three times during his nine-year Major League career. It's now up to the fans to determine whether or not Kendall will be making his fourth All-Star appearance when the top performers from each league meet at Minute Maid Park in Houston on July 13.
Kendall, along with Florida Marlins center fielder Juan Pierre, Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bobby Abreu, Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Steve Finley and Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, has been selected to compete in the Ameriquest 2004 All-Star Final Vote balloting.
"I'd love to be on the All-Star team," said Kendall. "Those are things you get to tell your kids' kids about.
"But that's not under my control."
Now in its third year, the Ameriquest 2004 All-Star Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final position player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday night's Major League All-Start Selection Show and continues until 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The winners will be announced at 9 p.m. ET exclusively on MLB.com and will then be added to the AL and NL All-Star Game rosters.
The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and 32nd man, will have yet another opportunity to make themselves heard with the return of the Ameriquest All-Star Game MVP Vote. Beginning in the sixth inning of the All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 13, fans can cast their vote for the player they believe deserves to win the Ted Williams Award for being the game's Most Valuable Player. The fan vote counts for 20 percent of the decision on which player wins the award, with the media accounting for the other 80 percent.
2004 Final Vote
American League winner:
Hideki Matsui, Yankees
(in order of finish):
Frank Thomas, White Sox
Paul Konerko, White Sox
Lew Ford, Twins
Travis Hafner, Indians
National League winner:
Bobby Abreu, Phillies
(in order of finish):
Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
Steve Finley, D-Backs
Jason Kendall, Pirates
Juan Pierre, Marlins
Kendall, who started the 2000 All-Star game in place of injured slugger Mike Piazza, is enjoying another stellar season both at the plate and behind it. A .304 lifetime hitter entering the season, Kendall entered Sunday's action batting .312 with two home runs, 30 RBIs and a .391 on-base percentage. Defensively, Kendall has thrown out 40 percent of base runners attempting to steal against him. He has also received praise for his handling of the Bucs' young starting rotation.
Kendall has once again proven to be extremely durable. After leading all Major League catchers in starts and appearances in 2002 and 2003, Kendall has been behind the plate for 72 of the Pirates' 79 games, including a recent stretch of 34 consecutive starts.
"He has been our leader," said Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon. "There is nothing that could take the place of what he has done.
"I'm extremely proud of him and I hope he gets in."
If selected, Kendall would join shortstop Jack Wilson in giving the Pirates their first duo at the All-Star game since Kendall and Brian Giles represented the club in 2000 at Turner Field in Atlanta. Wilson was named to his first All-Star team on Sunday.
"I'm happy for Jack, first of all. It was deserved," said Kendall. "We'll see how it goes."
Minnesota Twins outfielder Lew Ford, Cleveland Indians first baseman Travis Hafner, Chicago White Sox designated hitter Frank Thomas and first baseman Paul Konerko, and New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui will compete for the final spot on the AL roster.
Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.