Rookie Aaron Judge will start for AL in MLB All-Star Game
7/7/2017, 9 a.m.
Aaron Judge wears No. 99 on his New York Yankees jersey, but ranks No. 1 in other important categories.
The rookie right-fielder leads the American League in home runs (28) and runs batted in (63). He also is the runaway leader in attracting All-Star votes.
The head-turning California native accumulated more votes — some 4.9 million — than all others and will start in right field for the AL in baseball’s midsummer classic, the MLB All-Star Game, on Tuesday, July 11, in Miami.
All-Star voting was conducted by fans May 1 through June 29.
The 6-foot-7, 270-pound Judge also is expected to flex his considerable muscles in the annual Home Run Derby on Monday, July 10. The Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton is the defending champ.
The player coming in second in AL voting is the league’s shortest all-star, 5-foot-6 second baseman Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros.
The AL’s other African-American starters will be outfielders George Springer with Houston and Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox. Betts replaces the injured Mike Trout of the Los Angels.
There are no African-American National League starters.
Judge does everything to excess — even strike out. His 101 whiffs were first in the AL.
Yankee right-fielders are no strangers to records.
Babe Ruth held the AL record for most homers in a single season — 60 in 1927 — until Roger Maris, another Yankee right-fielder, slugged 61 in 1961.
Yet another former Yankee right-fielder, Reggie Jackson, holds the major league record for most strikeouts in a career — 2,597.
While African-Americans are scarce on the All-Star rosters, there is no shortage of players of color from Caribbean nations.
Joining Judge in the AL All-Star lineup will be Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez from Venezuela; Altuve, who also is from Venezuela; Houston shortstop Carlos Correa from Puerto Rico; and Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez from the Dominican Republic.
The starting third baseman for the National League will be Miami’s Marcell Ozuna from the Dominican Republic. Ozuna is one of five NL All-Stars from the Caribbean.
Before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, dark-complexioned Latinos, like African-Americans, were banned from Major League Baseball.
Of the 32 players on the AL All-Star roster, 16 hail from the Caribbean.
The NL roster includes just two African-Americans, both reserves. They are outfielder Stanton from Miami and Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison.
African-Americans made their MLB All-Star debut in 1949, two seasons after Robinson’s debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Three Brooklyn Dodgers — second baseman Robinson, pitcher Don Newcombe and catcher Roy Campanella — made the 1949 National League roster, while Cleveland outfielder Larry Doby represented the American League.
The first person of color from the Caribbean in an All-Star game was Cleveland outfielder Minnie Minoso in 1951. The Cuba native played in the Negro League All-Star games in 1947 and 1948 with the New York Cubans.
The All-Star MVP award wasn’t introduced until 1962, with the first MVPs being African-Americans Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers (NL MVP) and Leon Wagner of the Los Angeles Angels (AL MVP).
Hank Aaron is the all-time leader in All-Star appearances with 25 from 1955 to 1975; there were two All-Star games per season from 1959 to 1962.
The Negro Leagues held their own All-Star game 1933 through 1962, with most games at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. Attendance peaked at 51,723 in 1943 and fell off dramatically by the early 1950s.
Negro League All-Star voting was conducted by two African-American-owned newspapers, the Chicago Defender and the Pittsburgh Courier.