They’ve put a lot of smash and flash into a Marlins lineup that often hasn’t backed them enough.
On Sunday night, though, Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon were rewarded for their work. Both earned starting nods for the 86th All-Star Game in Cincinnati, joining Gary Sheffield (1993) and Hanley Ramirez (2008-10) as the only Marlins to get voted into the game by the fans.
Stanton, who leads baseball with 27 home runs and ranks second with 67 RBI, went on the disabled list after he broke the hamate bone in his left hand while swinging a bat June 26 and won’t get to play in the game.
But Gordon, who leads the majors with 116 hits and 17 three-hit games and ranks second in stolen bases (29), will get to start in the Midsummer Classic for the first time in his career if he can get through the next week unscathed.
“It’s a huge honor,” Gordon said Sunday in Chicago after the Marlins fell to 35-48, 11 games back in the NL East race. “I’m definitely blessed. I thank God for the opportunity. But I thank my teammates and my coaches for going out there and battling every day. This is more for them.”
Stanton, not expected back until August, took to social media to thank the fans for the 7,036,537 votes he received, second among outfielders to Washington’s Bryce Harper, the National League’s overall leader in votes with 13,864,950.
It’s the first time in Stanton’s career he was voted in by the fans. In 2012, he was selected as a reserve but didn’t play because he had surgery on his right knee. Last year in Minneapolis, Stanton started as the designated hitter for the NL after earnign his second selection.
“I just wanted to thank my fans and fans of the game that voted for me to start in the All-Star Game this year,” Stanton wrote on his Instagram account. “I work the way I do for a reason, and it’s times like this that I can appreciate why. So I THANK each and every one of you!”
In all, 10 of the 17 players selected by the fans (nine American League; eight National League) are first-time starters — the most since there were 11 in 2005.
The pitchers and reserves for both squads — totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL — will be announced at 7p.m. Monday on ESPN. They are determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers — NL skipper Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series champion Giants and AL manager Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals.
Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, who collected 14,090,188 votes, set an all-time single-season voting record, surpassing Josh Hamilton’s 2012 total of 11,073,744 tallies.
But it was the Royals and their fans who really stole the show. Four Royals were selected: outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon, shortstop Alcides Escobar and catcher Salvador Perez. Kansas City became the 10th team in AL history to have four players get starting nods.
The Marlins have twice had four players selected to the All-Star Game, in 2004 and ’05 — when Gordon was a teenager following his major-league father, Tom, around.
Now, it’s dad, a three-time All-Star relief pitcher, who will be on his son’s guest list. There are only 13 father-son combinations who have played in the All-Star Game.
“In 2004, I was kicked off the field for trying to rob Home Run Derby homers,” said Gordon, who said one of his favorite All-Star moments was meeting Muhammad Ali in 2004.
“The ’06 [game], I had just graduated from high school and I thought I was a cool kid. So I didn’t want to go on the field. But ’04 was the most fun.”
Gordon, a reserve at the All-Star Game last year with the Dodgers, said earning the start is something he’s very proud of.
His first half has been one of the best in Marlins history. He’s hitting .339 with 16 doubles, four triples, 21 RBI and 43 runs scored. His 100th hit of the season came in the Marlins’ 65th game on June 19, making him the fastest player to 100 hits in club history — five games faster than three-time All-Star and Marlins all-time hits leader Luis Castillo. He has also played Gold Glove-caliber defense.
“He’s having a dynamic year,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “He has a great energy about him. He’s a very good defender also; he’s a difference-maker. He is truly one of the catalytic leadoff hitters in the game right now. He has been really impressive.”
Miami Herald contributor Daniel I. Dorfman reported from Chicago for this story.