07/04/2004 7:45 PM ET
Final Vote can make Finley All-Star
D-Backs centerfielder has another All-Star bid
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
|Steve Finley has a chance to head to Houston in the Final Vote. (Paul Connors/AP)
PHOENIX -- Somehow, after all these years, Steve Finley still seems to fly under the radar when it comes to being recognized for his play.
Though not selected in balloting or by National League All-Star manager Jack McKeon, the Diamondbacks centerfielder still has a chance to make this year's team as a Final Vote candidate.
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
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
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.
"I guess I have to get on the Internet tonight," D-Backs outfielder Luis Gonzalez said. "There's no question he deserves to go. Look at the numbers he's put up this year and if you take out April they're even better. He's been phenomenal."
After his usual slow start to the season, Finley has certainly put up All-Star worthy numbers at the plate, while playing his customary stellar defense in center. He was selected for the All-Star Game in 1997 and 2000 and has been a borderline candidate in other years. To him, he's the perfect Final Vote candidate.
"It's an honor," Finley said. "It's kind of been where I've been throughout my whole career -- on that (Final Vote) list. But there never was a list (until recently) so now I'm on the list so maybe I've got a chance. We'll see."
Finley is 39 years old, but thanks to a rigorous training routine, he plays like a 29-year-old.
"He's physically in great shape and is just plugged in right now," former D-Backs manager Bob Brenly said of Finley recently. "He looks like his legs really have a lot of life in him. He's covered a lot of ground in the outfield. Offensively he's getting it done every day, running the bases and doing it pretty much every day. He just continues to amaze."
As for the numbers, Finley is on pace to hit 38 home runs and drive in 82 runs, and ranks in the top 10 in the NL in multi-hit games and total bases. He is the only active player with 300 doubles, 200 homers and 100 triples. Seventeen other big leaguers have accomplished that feat, and 16 are in the Hall of Fame.
"He's a true profession and the numbers speak for themselves," D-Backs skipper Al Pedrique said. "He should be there."
Whether he is or not is up to the fans.
The other NL Final Vote candidates are Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre, Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, Pirates catcher Jason Kendall and Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu.
AL Final Vote candidates are Twins outfielder Lew Ford, Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner, Yankees outfielder
Hideki Matsui, White Sox designated hitter Frank Thomas and White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.