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Ford fourth in AL Final Vote
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07/06/2004  6:45 PM ET
Ford fourth in AL Final Vote
Yanks' Matsui leads, followed by Thomas, Konerko
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Lew Ford, among the leaders in most of the Twins' offensive categories, has a strong fan following in Minnesota. (Jim Mone/AP)
MINNEAPOLIS -- After two days of voting and with more than five million ballots cast in the Ameriquest 2004 All-Star Final Vote, Twins outfielder Lew Ford is in fourth place among five American League players vying to be the 32nd and final man on the AL All-Star roster.

Hideki Matsui of the Yankees leads Frank Thomas of the White Sox and his teammate, Paul Konerko, who are in a virtual tie for second, followed by Ford and Travis Hafner of the Indians.

"Just being on the final list is an honor," Ford said. "I'm sure I'm an underdog. If it doesn't happen, it's still great to be one of the five."

Voting remains tight in the NL, too. Chicago's Aramis Ramirez and Philadelphia's Bobby Abreu are in a dead heat, followed by Pittsburgh's Jason Kendall, then Steve Finley of the Diamondbacks and Juan Pierre of the Marlins.

Because Ford began the season in Triple-A, he was not on this year's original All-Star ballot, but he has given the injury-ravaged Twins a much-needed spark since being promoted to the big leagues.

The 27-year-old Ford leads the Twins in batting average and is among the team leaders in home runs and RBIs.

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-Star Selection Show and continues until 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday. The winners will be announced at 8 p.m. CT exclusively on MLB.com and will then be added to the AL and NL All-Star Game rosters.

2004 Final Vote

American League winner:
Hideki Matsui, Yankees

AL candidates:
(in order of finish):
• Frank Thomas, White Sox
• Paul Konerko, White Sox
• Lew Ford, Twins
• Travis Hafner, Indians

National League winner:
Bobby Abreu, Phillies

NL candidates
(in order of finish):

• Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
• Steve Finley, D-Backs
• Jason Kendall, Pirates
• Juan Pierre, Marlins

All-Star 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.

"Hopefully, Minnesota fans can stuff the ballots like the rest of these cities do and get Lew-Lew in there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

His play on both sides of the game earned him the right to stay. He's now the regular left fielder while Shannon Stewart has been on the disabled list.

"That's a huge thing for him," Gardenhire said. "We're excited for him. Hopefully, it'll work out for him to get voted in -- it's tough. Just to get named like that is pretty good. We're happy for Lew-Lew."

Since learning Sunday that he was part of the Final Vote, Ford has enjoyed some of the attention he's received.

"It seems like a lot of players are saying they voted for me a few times," Ford said. "That's a great feeling."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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