Albert Pujols will be in a familiar spot when St. Louis hosts the 80th All-Star Game. Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield is headed for a brand new situation.
Pujols was the leading vote-getter in balloting for the Midsummer Classic announced Sunday by Major League Baseball, giving the Cardinals first baseman the start in his home ballpark.
“It feels great to be there and represent the organization and the city you play in,” Pujols said.
The NL MVP is well on his way to another amazing year, leading the majors with 31 homers and 82 RBIs. He collected 5,397,374 votes to finish with the second-highest total in major league history, trailing only Ken Griffey Jr.‘s six million votes in 1994.
“I think that’s just a recognition around the country that he’s had a phenomenal first half on top of a phenomenal career,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “I’m sure our fans supported him, but he’s been incredible and it’s well-deserved.”
Pujols has made the NL team eight times in nine seasons and will be making his sixth start.
Wakefield made his first All-Star roster in his 17th season, one of a major league-high six Red Sox headed to Busch Stadium for the July 14 game. The 42-year-old right-hander is tied for the big league lead with 10 wins.
Wakefield got a standing ovation when Boston’s All-Stars were announced at Fenway Park, and acknowledged the cheering crowd with a wave.
“I have a lot of emotions running through right now,” he said after Boston’s 8-4 victory over Seattle. “It’s a pretty proud moment for me and my family.”
Peep our All-Star noisemakers below and share your thoughts in the comments: