Results tagged ‘ All-Star Game ’

Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann named to 2014 NL All-Star team

Infielder Anthony Rendon part of 2014 Final Vote 

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by Amanda Comak

Atlanta Braves v Washington NationalsOn the heels of his finest Major League season, Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is heading back to the All-Star game.

The Nationals’ 19-game winner from a year ago, who is 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA in 18 2014 starts, was named to the National League All-Star team for the second consecutive season on Sunday evening. He was the Nationals’ lone selection.

Infielder Anthony Rendon, who has split his time this year between second and third base, was named to the Final Vote. Fans can vote through Thursday to help Rendon join Zimmermann in Minneapolis.

“It means a lot,” Zimmermann said. “It’s a huge honor. I’m excited. I wouldn’t be going if it wasn’t for those guys playing defense behind me every day, and the catchers calling the pitches. I throw the ball. I try to throw strikes and let the guys put it in play. As much as it’s me going, it’s actually all these guys, too.”​

“I’m here to throw 200 innings, that’s my biggest goal,” the usually-understated Zimmermann added. “To go deep into ballgames and give these guys a chance to win the game. You do that stuff, I guess you become an All-Star. That’s what’s happened the last couple years.”

For Zimmermann, the trip back to the game’s biggest showcase will mark another reminder that he has cemented himself amongst the best in the game.

The selection comes at a time in which Zimmermann may be pitching as well as he has all season. In seven starts before being named to the team, Zimmermann — who opened the month of June with 19 consecutive scoreless innings — posted 1.26 ERA.

Seven years after the Nationals’ plucked him out of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and five years removed from the Tommy John surgery that rebuilt his elbow, the right-hander was a chosen by NL Manager Mike Matheny to be a part of the 2014 squad.

And this time, he’ll be put on that stage a mere three hours from his hometown of Auburndale, Wisc. This year, too, the hope is that the Nationals’ winningest pitcher will get a chance to participate. A lingering neck issue held him out of last year’s game at Citi Field, though he went and enjoyed the All-Star festivities in New York.

“You want to pitch in it,” Zimmermann said. “Last year, being the first time, I wanted to, but this year it’s going to be good. It’s about three hours from home. I’m sure I’ll have a decent amount of people coming over. I think it’s going to be fun.”

For Rendon, the Nationals’ infielder is following up his strong rookie campaign with a breakout season. Shifting seamlessly between second (17 starts) and third base (65 starts), depending on need, Rendon is hitting .282 (94-for-333) with 21 doubles, five triples, a career-high 12 home runs and 50 RBI in 83 games.

Rendon, 24, has excelled offensively — he ranks among the NL’s top 10 in runs (60), triples (5), RBI (50) and extra-base hits.

“It’d be pretty cool,” Rendon said of the possibility of being an All-Star. “I’m not trying to get my hopes up. I don’t let my highs get too high, my lows get too low. (There are) definitely a lot of guys who deserve it.”

Fans can vote for Rendon through Thursday at

What to Watch for: 7.16.13 All Star Edition

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American League vs. National League

 RHP Max Scherzer (Tigers) 13-1, 3.19 vs. RHP Matt Harvey (Mets) 7-2, 2.35 

Baseball’s best will take the field tonight in the 84th All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York City. The Nationals sent four members of their organization to the Big Apple, including Bryce Harper who will start the game in center field for the National League. Nats pitcher Jordan Zimmermann also made the trip after earning 12 wins in the first half of the season but will not pay due to a neck injury. Nationals Manager Davey Johnson and Head Athletic Trainer Lee Kuntz were also selected to be a part of the Midsummer Classic.


1. Mike Trout (Angels) LF

2. Robinson Cano (Yankees) 2B

3. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) 3B

4. Chris Davis (Orioles) 1B

5. Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) RF

6. David Ortiz (Red Sox) DH

7. Adam Jones (Orioles) CF

8. Joe Mauer (Twins) C

9. J.J. Hardy (Orioles) SS

RHP Max Scherzer (Tigers)


1. Brandon Phillips (Reds) 2B

2. Carlos Beltran (Cardinals) RF

3. Joey Votto (Reds) 1B

4. David Wright (Mets) 3B

5. Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) LF

6. Yadier Molina (Cardinals) C

7. Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies) SS

8. Michael Cuddyer (Rockies) DH

9. Bryce Harper (Nationals) CF

RHP Matt Harvey (Mets)


Harper will be the youngest player in history to start an All-Star Game for the National League. He will also be the first player in Nationals history to start in the game and the first player to represent the Nationals in more than one All-Star game.

Harper was the second-youngest player in history to participate in the Home Run Derby; Ken Griffey Jr. was 42 days younger when he participated in 1990. Harper came in second place after blasting eight home runs in each round.


Johnson was invited by Giants skipper Bruce Bochy. Johnson will return to New York City where he managed the Mets from 1984-90 and his 1986 club won the World Series in a memorable, seven-game Fall Classic. He remains the Mets’ winningest manager (both in victories and winning percentage) and was inducted into the Mets Hall-of-Fame on August 1, 2010. Nationals Head Athletics Trainer Lee Kuntz will join Johnson in New York City. Kuntz is in his seventh season with the Nationals and will be participating in his first All-Star Game.


In both 2010 and 2011, the winning pitcher in the All-Star game was a member of the Washington Nationals. In 2010, Matt Capps struck out one batter in the sixth inning to earn the victory and end the American League’s 13-game win streak. The following year, Tyler Clippard became the first pitcher to win an All-Star game after facing only one batter and allowing a hit to win the All-Star game.

In 2012, the Nationals had the most players selected to the All-Star game in team history when Bryce Harper, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, and Ian Desmond were all chose to represent the National League.

All-Star Performances All Around

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With the combination of his star power and raw power, Bryce Harper is the most nationally known of Washington’s performers during All-Star Week at Citi Field. However, the Nationals have had a presence in nearly every facet of the festivities, and those stories should not be overlooked. Before the Midsummer Classic takes place Tuesday night, we take a look back through the events of the past three days.

Sunday: A.J. Cole Saves the Future for the USA

A.J. Cole earned the save in the Futures Game.

A.J. Cole earned the save in the Futures Game.

On Sunday afternoon, while the Nationals were taking care of business against the Miami Marlins in the final game before the All-Star break, some of the brightest prospects in the game assembled at Citi Field for the Futures Game. Pitting the best American Minor Leaguers against those from around the world, the game has become a showcase event that marks the beginning of the week of exhibitions.

This year’s Futures Game was a low-scoring, well-fought contest, in which the teams exchanged leads, with the U.S. team adding a run in the eighth to lead 4-2 heading to the ninth. Giants Minor League hurler Kyle Crick walked two of the first three batters he faced to put the tying run on base and bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate with just one out. The U.S. Futures team turned to the bullpen and brought in Nationals prospect A.J. Cole – reacquired in the offseason deal that also netted Ian Krol and Blake Treinen – to finish the job. Cole punched out Mariners prospect Ji-Man Choi looking, then induced a grounder to second base from another Giants farmhand, Jesus Galindo, to end the game and earn the save.

Sunday: Defending the MVP

Wege celebrates his home run with his teammates (Jeff Zelevansky)

Wege (center) celebrates his home run with his teammates.

As you may recall, last year’s MLB All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game featured a pair of Washington Nationals Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team members, Saul Bosquez and Matt Kinsey. Both players shined brightly in their time in the spotlight, as each went 3-for-3, with Kinsey also blasting a home run to lead his team to victory and earn the game’s MVP award. Needless to say, the bar had been set pretty high for Josh Wege, this year’s Wounded Warrior participant.

Not to be outdone, Wege, representing the Nationals, cranked a home run of his own off future Hall-of-Famer Frank Thomas and nearly made a spectacular diving grab in the first inning, earning him co-MVP honors for the night.

“It’s just amazing to be on the field with this guys,” Wege said of his fellow athletes and celebrities. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The fans were amazing today.”

Monday: Bam Bam Reaches the Finals

Competing in his first-ever Home Run Derby, Bryce Harper was the youngest participant in the field of eight by nearly six years. But that didn’t stop him from putting up the most consistent display of anyone in the tournament, homering eight times in each of his three rounds and spraying the ball to all fields, advancing to the finals. But his final effort was not enough to best Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes, who blasted 17 long balls during his opening round, the most of any player in a single round.

Check out a compilation of all of Harper’s home runs below, and don’t forget to watch him tonight as he starts in center field for the National League.

The Desi And D-Rob Alliance

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Washington and New York have a lot in common.

Where D.C. is the center of governmental power, New York is the hub of the financial world. The District, The Big Apple. Defending champions of the National League East, defending champions of the American League East.

So it’s only fitting for us to partner together for a common cause – to get our deserving candidates to the 2013 All-Star Game, which will, of course, be played in New York. Pooling our collective energy, we hope to land both Ian Desmond and David Robertson into the Midsummer Classic.

DesiDRob3We’ve already detailed for you the many reasons why Desmond should once again be an All-Star. Just as Desmond’s accomplishments have been at times overshadowed by his fellow teammates on the left side of the defense – Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman – so have Robertson’s. After all, it’s hard to be a relief pitcher in pinstripes not named Mariano Rivera.

But Robertson is 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA in 39 appearances this season. In 36.1 innings, he has allowed just 23 hits and three home runs while walking 12 and striking out 46.

And for everything these two do on the field, they are both some of the most active off the field in helping their communities as well. Though Desmond doesn’t advertise his charity work, he does, in fact, sit on the board of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, and is one of the strongest forces behind turning the dream of the Academy into a reality. The Academy is set to open its doors for academic programming in the fall, with full baseball clinics beginning next spring.

But what’s the meaning behind Robertson’s #HighSocksForVotes? Well, High Socks For Hope, a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Corporation, was founded by Robertson and his wife Erin after tornadoes ravaged David’s hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2011. High Socks For Hope’s mission is to lend support to charities and organizations helping those affected by tragedies and to provide humanitarian services for individuals in need.

Of course, D.C. and New York have their differences, too, but those only make them stronger when united. The Nationals fan base is the youngest and one of the fastest-growing in baseball. The Yankees fan base is arguably the largest in the game, with the sport’s longest legacy of winning. Hopefully, by joining forces, we can get two great players – and great men – into the Midsummer Classic.

Vote #DesiIn13 at And while you’re at it, make sure to mark your ballot #HighSocksForVotes too. You can also text N1 and A3 to 89269 to vote for Desmond and Robertson, respectively. Unlimited voting ends July 11 at 4PM ET.

What to Watch for: 7.7.13

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San Diego Padres (40-48) vs. Washington Nationals (45-42)

LHP Robbie Erlin (1-1, 4.34) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-6, 2.24)

The Nationals earned their third consecutive win and second straight over the Padres Saturday, clinching a third season series in as many years. Washington sends Stephen Strasburg – the Major League ERA leader since May 11 at 1.29 (8 ER/56.0 IP) – to the mound in search of the three-game sweep.


1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. Werth RF

6. Rendon 2B

7. Moore 1B

8. Ramos C

9. Strasburg RHP


Bryce Harper became the youngest position player ever elected to start an All-Star Game and Jordan Zimmermann was named to the National League pitching staff for the 2013 Midsummer Classic in New York. Davey Johnson will also be participating as a member of the coaching staff, as will athletic trainer Lee Kuntz. Ian Desmond has been named as a Final Vote candidate, and can reach the game with the help of fan voting at


Though he did not earn his 13th win of the season, All-Star Jordan Zimmermann extended his personal unbeaten streak at Nationals Park to 22 consecutive starts. The Nationals have won the last 14 games Zimmermann has started in D.C., with Jordan earning the win in 11 of them.


When scoring three or more runs this season, as they did in their 20th comeback win of the year on Saturday, the Nationals are 40-10 (.800). However, when plating two or fewer runs, Washington is just 5-32 (.135).

2012 Player Review: Ian Desmond

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The Washington Nationals enjoyed unprecedented success in 2012, recording the best record in Major League Baseball. The team relied on the contributions of many different players, whom we will catalogue throughout the offseason as we look ahead to the 2013 campaign. Our list continues with the emerging talent up the middle, Ian Desmond.

We’ve written several times in this space about the candidacy of Adam LaRoche as the Most Valuable Player, not just for the 2012 Nationals, but for the entire National League. However, if any Washington position player could challenge LaRoche for that title, it would be the Nationals 2012 breakout star, Ian Desmond.

Ian Desmond emerged as an NL All-Star and clubhouse leader in 2012.

After flashing signs of his potential during a 2009 September call-up (where he went .280/.318/.561 with seven doubles and four homers in 82 at-bats), the shortstop’s numbers fell short of those levels in his first two full Major League seasons. All of that changed in 2012, though, as the 27 year-old saw his talents at the plate and in the field come together to land him an All-Star selection. Despite playing through an oblique injury that hampered his production towards the end of the season’s first half and sidelined him for nearly a month in July and August, Desmond still posted career highs in hits (150), doubles (33), home runs (25), runs scored (72) and RBI (73). His OPS+ of 126 was higher than Ryan Zimmerman’s, Bryce Harper’s and Jayson Werth’s, ranking just slightly behind LaRoche for the team lead.

For some greater perspective on the caliber of Desmond’s season, consider the following. Despite playing just 130 games, he was one of only seven National Leaguers (and the only National) to post a 20-20 season, joining reigning MVP Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Jason Heyward, Andrew McCutchen, Hanley Ramirez and Jimmy Rollins.

Gio Gonzalez flashes his favorite clubhouse shirt, depicting Desmond as a super hero, cape and all.

And while his overall numbers were solid in their own right, Desmond seemed to come up biggest whenever the pressure was turned up. Until Werth’s thunderous, walk-off home run ended Game 4 of the NLDS, Desmond’s come-from-behind, game-winning blast with two outs in the ninth inning on May 2 to beat the Diamondbacks was Washington’s lone walk-off home run of the season. The shortstop also drove in 31 of his 73 RBI (42.5%) with two outs, including three from the eighth inning on in a rousing, 12-inning victory over the Mets on June 5.

And then, of course, there was the defense. After committing 34 errors in his first full season in 2010, Desmond cut that number to 23 the following campaign and again down to 15 this year. His improved consistency, along with his proclivity for highlight reel plays, earned him a Gold Glove finalist nomination. Desmond’s pure athleticism and reflexes led to tremendous plays like the one below, also part of that June 5 performance:

He showed off his range as well this year, with diving grabs like this one in September:

Desmond carried his success into the postseason, staking claim as Washington’s most consistent hitter in the NLDS. He batted .368 (7-for-19) in his first taste of playoff action, continuing to emerge as a leader for this young Nationals squad.

As a player just entering the prime of his career, there is no reason to believe Desmond’s 2012 season was a fluke, and if he is able to play a full season in 2013, the Florida native will have a chance to improve upon the benchmarks he set this year. As he enters arbitration for the first time this year, he remains under team control for the next three seasons, giving Nationals fans at least that much time to watch him continue to grow into his full potential.

The Brightest Stars

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Matt Kinsey doffs his cap to the crowd in Kansas City.

When Matt Kinsey and Saul Bosquez – members of the Washington Nationals Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team – found out they would be a part of this year’s All-Star festivities in Kansas City, they felt like they had already hit the jackpot. Their invitation to take part in the 2012 Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball game alongside actors, musicians and baseball greats was reward enough in and of itself. But as Kinsey, Bosquez and all of the Wounded Warriors have reminded us in the past, they don’t play for show. They play to win.

A group of D.C. celebrities and sports figures learned that lesson the hard way first hand back in April, when the Wounded Warriors torched them, 17-4, in an exhibition game at Nationals Park. So it should come as no surprise to any readers who are familiar with their story that the two would come out swinging in Kansas City.

Bosquez started at shortstop – a premiere defensive position – for the American League team and went a perfect 3-for-3 with an RBI. He could not have been more pleased with his performance, or more grateful for the opportunity to play on such a stage.

“Besides the birth of my son, this has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Bosquez said. “We’re so proud to be here and to wear the Curly W.”

But Kinsey was not to be outdone. Playing first base opposite his fellow Wounded Warrior, he went 3-for-3 as well, and belted a home run to key his team’s 21-8 victory. As a result, Kinsey took home the ultimate honor: he was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Just like Bosquez, Kinsey too was full of nothing but thanks for his chance to shine.

“To take the field representing the Washington Nationals and play with so many celebrities and Hall of Famers in front of thousands of fans was one of the biggest honors of my life,” Kinsey said.

You can catch Kinsey and Bosquez’s memorable performances tonight beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET following the State Farm Home Run Derby on ESPN.

From the Desk of Mark Lerner: Happy Fourth of July

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Greetings Nationals fans.

What a week for the ballclub.

In one week’s time, the offense seems to have clicked (thanks Coors Field for the spark!), we received thrilling news that we’ll have three All-Stars in Kansas City next week and we won a huge intradivision series down in Atlanta.

But perhaps most importantly, Ryan Zimmerman is again “right” offensively. I know Rick Eckstein, Davey and Ryan himself worked tirelessly to get him out of his funk. But the worm turned and he’s producing offense seemingly every night.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that you now see Michael Morse hitting the ball with authority. After almost two months without, we finally have our 3-4-5 hitters in place. The sky’s the limit.

The Nationals 2012 All-Stars (left to right): Stephen Strasburg, Ian Desmond and Gio Gonzalez.

As for next week’s All-Star Game, I really could not be happier for Ian, Gio, Stephen, their families and of course our fans.

With that said, take yourself back one calendar year. Ian was on the verge of emerging both offensively and defensively, but was not quite there yet. Gio was pitching well, at an All-Star level, but in the AL West with Oakland. And Stephen was on the verge of beginning his 6-start rehab stint in our minor-league system after having Tommy John surgery.

Nope, this All-Star trifecta was not on my radar. And I doubt it was on anyone else’s.

As for Bryce Harper’s bid for a spot on Tony La Russa’s All-Star roster, I say why not? What Bryce is doing at the age of 19 is remarkable. And to pair him with a talent like Mike Trout (age 20) on the AL  side would create great theatre that is likely to last in our memories a lot longer than the game’s final score.

Thank you for your efforts to send Bryce to Kansas City. Fans turned out in droves to vote for Bryce and the Orioles Jason Hammel as part of the Beltway Ballot at and for #BryceIn12 on Twitter.

While I am always excited for the Mid-Summer Classic, this year more than ever the game’s results just might matter to us directly. Yet another consequence of being in a pennant race I suppose. This really is fun isn’t it?

Those were enormous wins the last two days over Lincecum, Bumgarner and the Giants to begin the big homestand to close out the season’s first half. The series against the Giants is of special interest as it pits the top two teams in the NL, at least in terms of winning percentage. The Giants are coming off a big week in which they overtook the Dodgers for the top spot in the NL West. Should be a great finale tonight.

I hope you had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July and I’ll see you at the ballpark.

Bryce Harper Answers Your Questions

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With Bryce Harper in the thick of the Final Vote race to represent the National League in the 2012 All-Star Game, famous athletes and celebrities from around the District have been chiming in with their support. From John Wall to Luke Russert, from Braden Hotlby to James Brown, the show of solidarity around D.C. has been terrific. But Bryce still needs each and every one of you to vote, as many times as you can, if he’s going to make it. As a reward, he reached out to answer some of your questions on Twitter today.

From @Gmoney119:

Is he aware that all of the biggest athletes in town (Wizards, Caps, Redskins) have been lobbying 4 him to be an All-Star?

Bryce: Yeah I think it’s great how they decided to team up on that and express how they wanted people to vote for me for the All-Star Game. I really appreciate all the local players that have done it, and anytime they need anything from me, I’m here with open arms.

From @YoungAcks:

Bryce what’s your favorite OF position LF C or RF???

Bryce: I’d have to go with center field. Playing center field, you’re in charge, you’re running the outfield. It also really helps to have guys around me that have played that position. Any time I’m in the lineup, I think that’s the best spot.

From @jayraynet:

If you weren’t playing ball, what would you be doing?

Bryce: I’d probably be a firefighter. Ever since I was growing up, I wanted to be a firefighter or a baseball player. Going into the offseason, I’m going to get my EMT and do the firefighting thing so I have something to fall back on.


Twelve Reasons To Vote #BryceIn12

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As you know by now, Bryce Harper is a Final Vote candidate for the 2012 National League All-Star Team. Make sure you vote #BryceIn12 before Thursday’s 4:00 p.m. EDT deadline. You can vote as many times as you’d like, so to get you fired up to get those clicking fingers moving, we’ve compiled 12 reasons why our 19 year-old phenom belongs in the Mid-Summer Classic:

1. He’s got pop. Everyone has heard the legend of the 502-foot home run at Tropicana Field when he was still in high school. Indeed, Harper’s homers are never cheapies. That includes his first Major League blast, to straightaway center at Nats Park on May 14.

2. He always hustles. In the third inning on June 24 in Baltimore, Harper grounded into the first double play of his Major League career. How did he respond? By hitting a chopper up the middle… and turning it into a double.

3. He doesn’t take his at-bats into the field. Despite having one of the worst days of his career at the plate on June 16 against the Yankees, Harper came up with this huge catch in the 13th inning.

4. He’s got a flair for the dramatic. In a game against the New York Mets on June 5 that featured just about everything – including three game-tying RBI from newly minted All-Star Ian Desmond from the eighth inning on – Harper finally ended it, becoming the first teenager to hit a walk-off since Gary Sheffield in 1988.

5. He woke up early in the morning after an extra-inning walk-off to read to children. Where was Harper the morning after that historic event? At Bonnie Brae Elementary School in Burke, VA, reading to third graders.

Walk-offs and school visits, all a part of a day in the life of Bryce Harper.

6. He’s a fast learner. Crafty vet and former Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez struck Harper out on a slow, slurving eephus pitch the first time the two met in Atlanta on May 27. Livo tried the same trick again in the next at-bat, but this time, Harper was ready.

7. One great young player deserves another. Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels 20 year-old outfield phenom, has already been selected to the game. Trout and Harper have become nearly synonymous in the weeks leading up to the game. For one to be there without the other just feels… Wrong.

Harper and Trout were teammates in the Arizona Fall League last year.

8. He’s clutch. After rallying from a 7-0 deficit, the Nationals trailed 10-9 entering the ninth inning in Colorado last week. They didn’t trail for long.

9. He’s charitable. When a Colorado brewery tried to capitalize on his “clown question, bro” phrase by naming a new offering after it in time for the Nationals recent visit to Colorado, Harper asked that they donate proceeds from sales to the family of Celena Hollis, a Denver police officer who was killed in the line of duty.

 10. He’s not content getting just one out. Always looking for a chance to stretch his talents, Harper gunned down the speedy Juan Pierre on May 23 in Philadelphia, turning a failed hit and run into a double play.

11. He’s got swag. After getting intentionally plunked by Cole Hamels, Harper went first to third on a single to left field, then took off for home on Hamels pick-off throw to first base, swiping home for his first Major League steal.


12. He’s a genuine superstar. At age 19, he’s already a national attraction. He plays the game right, and has become one of the most popular players in the sport. Isn’t that what the All-Star Game is all about?