© 2005 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

07/03/05 7:45 PM ET

Hunter gets a shot with AL Final Vote

Twins' defensive wizard among five finalists for ASG

MINNEAPOLIS -- If fans want to see Twins center fielder Torii Hunter make another spectacular play in an All-Star Game, the job falls on them again to vote him in.

Fans did not elect Hunter as a starter, nor was he named by the American League to represent it at the 76th All-Star Game at Detroit on July 12. But he was among five AL players selected to be part the Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Final Vote.

"You guys have to get out there and vote so I can get in there," Hunter jokingly pleaded.

If Hunter earns election, it would be his second trip to the Midsummer Classic. The Twins learned Sunday that pitchers Johan Santana and Joe Nathan were All-Stars.

"We're very proud of those two guys," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Hopefully we'll have another one in Torii Hunter, if we can get him voted in. We believe he should."

Now in its fourth year, the Ameriquest 2005 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's Major League All-Star Selection Show and continues until 7 p.m. CT Wednesday.

The winners will be announced on ESPN and MLB.com shortly thereafter.

There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2005 All-Star Final Vote -- online at MLB.com or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans can simply text the word 'VOTE' to 69652 (MYMLB) and be instantly registered to receive the Final Vote ballots. Then, for 99 cents per ballot, they can vote from wherever they are. Fans can get the mobile ballot now.

Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the 76th All-Star Game via the Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com.

The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive, national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.

AL Final Vote Candidates
Statistics through July 2, 2005
C. CrawfordTB4674424.275.310
D. JeterNYY6110359.302.392
T. HunterMIN50145119.265.339
H. MatsuiNYY5011602.307.374
S. PosednikCWS4401640.280.356

Competing with Hunter to be the 32nd man on the AL team, will be Hideki Matsui and Derek Jeter from the Yankees, the Devil Rays' Carl Crawford and Scott Podsednik from the White Sox.

Matsui was the winner of the 2004 Final Vote. Knowing that history, Hunter was not overly optimistic he would be joining Santana and Nathan in Detroit next week.

"It's tough," Hunter said. "You have the Matsui fans and the New York fans. It's a big market. If I don't get it, I get to go home for three days and rest my body and play with [my son] little Torii."

Hunter, who finished seventh in regular fan balloting this year with 1,185,290 votes, is batting .266 with 14 home runs and 51 RBIs this season. He ranks fifth in the AL with 19 stolen bases. An important and emotional leader on the field and in the clubhouse, Hunter helped carry the Twins through a rough month of June by batting .330 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs.

All-Star Game 2005

Many consider the Hunter to be the game's best defensive outfielder. The 29-year-old is a reigning four-time AL Gold Glove winner, and owns a highlight resume full of spectacular plays.

One of those plays came in the 2002 All-Star Game at Milwaukee, when Hunter was elected as a starter. He robbed the Giants' Barry Bonds of a home run with a spectacular leap and catch above the center-field fence. In one of the game's more memorable moments, Bonds playfully picked Hunter up over his shoulder as he headed out on the field to play defense.

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