Fans can help Thome in ASG voting
Slugger's quest for sixth appearance depends on write-ins
CHICAGO -- With 27 more home runs during the course of the 2007 season, Jim Thome will put himself in very exclusive company as a member of the 500-home run club.
Thome can reach that goal on his own, with a little help from his teammates, manager Ozzie Guillen and hitting coach Greg Walker. But if Thome is to be voted into his second straight All-Star Game and sixth overall by the fans, the left-handed slugger will need a great deal of assistance from White Sox followers across the country.
This year's Midsummer Classic takes place in San Francisco, meaning a National League park will be hosting the festivities for the second straight year. It also means that Thome, a designated hitter, is not on the 2007 ballot -- just as he wasn't on the 2006 ballot for a game played in Pittsburgh. Thome was voted in by his peers last year on the strength of 30 home runs and 77 RBIs before the break, and he could travel that route again this season.
But if White Sox fans want Thome to be selected as a starter, they will have to write in his name.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2007 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until Thursday, June 28th at 10:59 p.m. CT.
Fans around the world will again have the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team via the 2007 All-Star Final Vote. The vote will begin immediately following the 2007 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Chevrolet, which will be televised by Turner Sports on Sunday, July 1.
The White Sox have had the last two AL Final Vote winners in Scott Podsednik (2005) and A.J. Pierzynski (2006).
Selecting the rosters isn't the end of the fun in 2007, either. Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote at 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 offer extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will have exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.
Voting for the remainder of the White Sox starters won't be quite as tough as getting behind Thome's cause. Podsednik (one appearance), Darin Erstad (two appearances) and Jermaine Dye (two appearances) represent the White Sox in the outfield part of the AL All-Star ballot.
Paul Konerko, who has made three All-Star appearances, including the last two, is listed at first base. Konerko has four hits in five career All-Star at-bats, with his ninth-inning single last year starting a two-run rally off of Trevor Hoffman and making a winner of Guillen in his first game as a manager.
Tadahito Iguchi is on the ballot at second, with Juan Uribe at shortstop. Uribe is off to a fast start during the 2007 campaign, leading the team in homers and RBIs.
Pierzynski is listed at catcher, with Joe Crede looking for support at third base. Crede deserved an All-Star nod last year, so much so that Guillen joked about staying home so Crede could take his place.
White Sox fans can add some support in 2007 by punching Crede's name and do the same for the other seven players on the ballot, as the White Sox look to match last year's total of seven selections (Konerko, Thome, Pierzynski, Dye, Jose Contreras, Mark Buehrle and Bobby Jenks). In order to vote for one of the game's most accomplished home run hitters, an affable man well on his way to 500, these same fans are going to have add in Thome.
The first AL balloting release comes on Wed., May 30. The start date for fans to vote at U.S. Cellular Field is April 25 and the end date is June 18.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.