Thursday July 8 1999
All-Star Manager Joe Torre and AL President Gene Budig selected Blue Jays OF SHAWN GREEN and 3B TONY FERNANDEZ to the 1999 All-Star team to be played in Boston on July 13.
GREEN,26, will be making his first All-Star game after batting .326 with 24 home runs and 68 RBI. The California native is currently third in the AL in home runs and is seventh in RBI and leads the league in slugging percentage at .648 and extra-base hits with 48. Last season GREEN became the first player in Blue Jays history to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season.
FERNANDEZ,37, who has flirted with a .400 batting average and currently leads the league at .382, will be making his fifth All-Star game, and his fourth with Toronto. The Dominican Republic native, is also leading the league in on base percentage at .475 and doubles with 25 and is tied for fifth with 105 hits. FERNANDEZ last season batted .321 and drove in a career high 72 runs.
***All stats above are through games of July 6, 1999***
BALTIMORE -- Shawn Green is going to his first all-star game -- and he'll have familiar company.
The Blue Jays' Green, 26, and Tony Fernandez, 37 -- an old hat at these things having been to four -- were among the 21 reserves named to the American League team yesterday by Yankees manager Joe Torre.
The game will be something of a Blue Jays reunion. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays' Jose Canseco was voted in as the AL's designated hitter, while Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ed Sprague made the National League team as a reserve.
"That's four starters from our club last year," Green said.
There's the added bonus of a large family presence in Boston for Green. Not only does he have an aunt who lives in the host city for this year's all-star game, but his parents just happened to have joined him this week in Baltimore.
"So now they'll drive up the coast and make a little vacation of it and then join me in Boston," Green said.
Green learned yesterday
morning that he had been named to the team.
"A lot of guys are having good years so it's great that we have two going off the same team," Green said.
While the outfielder is
heading to his first game as a player, he and his father were
spectators in San Francisco in 1984 for the all-star festivities
the day before the game.
"I'm actually looking more forward to that day than the game," Green said.
"It's going to be fun watching (Sammy) Sosa and (Mark) McGwire and Canseco in that home-run contest.
"Being named to the team probably changes the way fans and media look at you, but I just feel like I'm going there to watch the all-star game not play in it. I'm just happy I got a ticket to go." Fernandez was more subdued about the honour of being named to the team.
"The first one is the one that is special," said the third baseman, who made his first all-star game appearance in 1986.
Green is one of seven first-time all-stars picked by Torre.
He joins Jeff Zimmerman, the Texas Rangers rookie reliever from Kelowna, B.C., Tigers catcher Brad Ausmus, Twins infielder Ron Coomer, A's slugger John Jaha, White Sox outfielder Magglio Ordonez, and Orioles outfielder B.J. Surhoff.
Before last night's game, Green ranked among the top five players in the league in total bases (193), doubles (24), homers (24), extra-base hits (48), multi-hit games (32) and slugging percentage (.648). Fernandez was leading or tied for the lead in batting average (.382), doubles (25), and on-base percentage (.475).
NEW YORK (AP-CP) -- Shawn Green and Tony Fernandez will represent the Toronto Blue Jays at the all-star game Tuesday in Boston after being selected as reserves for the American League team Wednesday by manager Joe Torre and league president Gene Budig.
Montreal outfielder Vladimir Guerrero was selected as a National League reserve Wednesday. He will be the lone Expos representative in Boston.
Meanwhile, two days after the fans snubbed the World Series-champion Yankees in the balloting, New York manager Torre selected four of his players to the AL squad.
Shortstop Derek Jeter, outfielder Bernie Williams and pitchers David Cone and Mariano Rivera will all make the trip to Boston.
NL manager Bruce Bochy and president Len Coleman selected 16 first-time all-stars in their pitchers and reserves, leaving out usual stars Barry Bonds of San Francisco and Atlanta pitchers John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux.
The Cleveland Indians, who had four starters elected Monday, led the AL with five players overall. Shortstop Omar Vizquel joins first baseman Jim Thome, second baseman Roberto Alomar and outfielders Kenny Lofton and Manny Ramirez.
The Red Sox will have three players at Fenway Park for the game. Pedro Martinez, who is 15-2 with a 2.02 earned-run average, will likely be the starting pitcher and second baseman Jose Offerman was chosen as a reserve. Nomar Garciaparra is the starting shortstop.
Neither Roger Clemens nor Mo Vaughn, two prominent former Red Sox who left Boston as free agents, were selected.
The Texas Rangers have four players on the roster, with first baseman Rafael Palmeiro and relievers Jeff Zimmerman of Kelowna, B.C., and John Wetteland joining starting catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
A fifth Ranger, Juan Gonzalez, said he wouldn't play if he wasn't a starter and the AL honoured his request.
The Baltimore Orioles have three players, with pitcher Mike Mussina and outfielder B.J. Surhoff joining starting third baseman Cal Ripken.
The other AL players selected Tuesday were Detroit catcher Brad Ausmus, Minnesota third baseman Ron Coomer, Oakland first baseman John Jaha, and outfielder Magglio Ordonez of the White Sox.
The other pitchers are Kansas City's Jose Rosado, Anaheim's Troy Percival and Tampa Bay's Roberto Hernandez.
The Braves, with the best record in the NL, will have two reserves and no starters. Pitcher Kevin Millwood and outfielder Brian Jordan will each make their first appearance.
Other first-time players are Houston pitchers Jose Lima, Billy Wagner and Mike Hampton; right-hander Paul Byrd and catcher Mike Lieberthal of Philadelphia; catcher Dave Nilsson and outfielder Jeromy Burnitz of Milwaukee.
Also making their first appearances are St. Louis starter Kent Bottenfield, Cincinnati first baseman Sean Casey, Florida shortstop Alex Gonzalez, San Francisco second baseman Jeff Kent, Pittsburgh third baseman Ed Sprague, and Arizona outfielder Luis Gonzalez.
Bochy added two of his own pitchers to the team, Andy Ashby and Trevor Hoffman. Outfielder Tony Gwynn was elected to start but won't play because of a calf injury.
The other reserves are Arizona pitcher Randy Johnson, San Francisco pitcher Robb Nen, Philadelphia pitcher Curt Schilling, Houston first baseman Jeff Bagwell and Los Angeles outfielder Gary Sheffield.
The other two AL starters are outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. of Seattle and Tampa Bay designated hitter Jose Canseco.
St. Louis's Mark McGwire and the Cubs' Sammy Sosa headline the NL starters. The lineup also includes Arizona's Matt Williams at third and Jay Bell at second, New York catcher Mike Piazza, Cincinnati shortstop Barry Larkin and Colorado outfielder Larry Walker of Maple Ridge, B.C.
Baltimore -- Outfielder Shawn Green and third baseman Tony Fernandez will represent the Toronto Blue Jays on the American League team in the All-Star Game at Fenway Park in Boston on Tuesday.
They were added to the team yesterday. Fernandez will be making his fifth appearance in an All-Star Game and Green his first.
"The first one is the one that is special, always," Fernandez said yesterday before the Blue Jays played the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Fernandez's first was at the Astrodome in Houston in 1986. His memory of the game? "I came in to play in the eighth inning," he said.
Fernandez's four previous appearances -- 1986, 1987 and 1989 as a Blue Jay and 1992 as a San Diego Padre -- were as a shortstop who could hit and field gracefully.
This year's selection at his listed age of 37 could be considered something special for Fernandez. He is a third baseman now, known more for his hitting than his fielding. He went into last night's game leading the major leagues in batting average at .382. He also had five home runs and 56 runs batted in.
"It's always an honour to go," he said.
If the first time is special, Green has plenty to anticipate. "I feel like I'm going to watch the All-Star Game rather than play in it," Green said. "I'm looking forward to the day before with Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco in the home-run contest."
Green, 26, entered last night's game batting .326, with 24 homers and 68 RBIs. He also had 15 stolen bases.
The All-Star Game will be a family affair for Green. His parents made the trip from California to see the series with the Orioles. "They'd always wanted to come to Baltimore," he said. "They had planned this trip. Now, they'll be driving up the coast and make a holiday of it and go to Boston." The Greens have relatives in Boston.
Green's father took him to Candlestick Park the day before the 1984 All-Star Game in San Francisco. He remembers watching McGwire play with Team USA in a pre-Olympics game.
The World Series is the ultimate goal for a player, but Green said the All-Star Game also was in his baseball dreams. "When you think of the career you're going to have, you want to go to some All-Star Games," he said. "Tuesday's as good a time to start as any."
"They're both deserving of going," said Blue Jays manager Jim Fregosi, who played in six All-Star Games. "Green is a complete player.
"The first one is always special. I was nervous as hell before my first one. I couldn't sleep the night before the game [in 1964]."
BALTIMORE - ``The first one, that's the one that's special, always.''
This was Tony Fernandez yesterday, explaining that, of course, it remained an honour and that, sure, he expected to have some fun at Fenway Park, but that this would be his fifth all-star selection and that . . . well, probably Shawn Green might sound just a little bit more excited.
And yes, Green was, after taking the news that he, too, would be one of Yankee manager Joe Torre's all-star reserves next week.
``It's not on the same level as a World Series but, starting out, it's certainly one of the things you want to accomplish in your career,'' said Green, among the league-leaders in homers (24) and RBIs (68) and No. 1, at that moment, in both slugging (.645) and extra-base hits (48).
``I remember, as a kid, my dad taking me to the game in San Francisco (the '84 All-Star tilt) - well, not the game, but the day before the game,'' Green said. ``I remember the hoopla.
``That's what I'm looking forward to now, the day before, watching Sosa and McGwire at Fenway. I'm looking forward to just hanging out, getting to know some of the guys I see on the highlights every night,'' Green said.
``It probably changes, a little, the way fans and the media will look at me but, you know, it still feels like I'm just going to watch the All-Star Game, not actually play in it. I'm happy I've got a ticket.''
Of course, his next headache will come from trying to find additional tickets for . . . well, for starters, mom and dad, who, like Green, now live in southern California.
The thing is, his folks had long-planned a little vacation time to coincide with this Jay visit to Baltimore, so now, they'll alter their itinerary to include a drive up to Boston where Green's aunt lives.
As for Fernandez, who turned 37 on June 30 and recently spent 15 days at .400 and beyond and, into last night, led the major leagues in hitting (.379) and on-base percentage (.474), well, he was still pretty low-key about the whole all-star deal.
At least he was until TSN's Buck Martinez happened to ask him what he most remembered about stepping into that first all-star clubhouse as a just-turned 24-year-old back in 1986.
Fernandez said something about how the game's very best players carried themselves . . . their casual deportment.
Martinez then asked what Fernandez thought it might feel like to step into that clubhouse as the leading hitter in the majors.
``I never thought of that,'' said Fernandez, a nice smile breaking out.
After being added to the American League all-star team Wednesday, Blue Jays outfielder Shawn Green talked about how much fun it was going to be watching Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in the home-run contest.
Yesterday, Green found out he will be competing with them as one of the five American League sluggers. Green will join Ken Griffey, Manny Ramirez, Jose Canseco, and Rafael Palmeiro, although those four have not confirmed their participation.
"I'm going to be more nervous doing that than I will be in the game," Green said. "I still don't know how I'm going to approach it. Do I try to go over the monster (in left) or pull it or what? I guess I'll figure that out as I go along."
BALTIMORE - On hearing he'd been named to his first all-star team Wednesday, a delighted Shawn Green said he probably was most looking forward to the day before the actual game, ``just hanging out . . . watching McGwire and Sosa at Fenway.''
That would be for that home run derby deal.
Well, sorry, but Green's going to be working on the Tuesday, having agreed yesterday to be part of the five-man American League ensemble.
While only Green and good buddy Jose Canseco of the Devil Rays apparently have confirmed their participation, it's expected they'll be joined by Seattle's Ken Griffey, Rafael Palmeiro of the Rangers and Cleveland's Manny Ramirez.
Which means Green will be getting an up-close-and-personal look at Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire as well as, very likely, Colorado's Larry Walker, Houston's Jeff Bagwell and Jeromy Burnitz of the Brewers.
``It'll probably be the scariest thing I do all year,'' said Green. ``I was just talking to Joe (Carter, here doing TV colour commentary) about it. He said just try to relax. I want to do it. It'll be fun, but stressful.''
``I used to hate it,'' said Carter. ``It's just you out there and everybody looking at you.''
Green certainly deserves to be there. Going into yesterday's games, his 24 homers ranked third in the AL behind Canseco's 30 and Griffey's 28, while only Sosa (32), Bagwell and McGwire (27 apiece) had more in the NL. He was also the AL's slugging leader.
Having his one-time ``mentor'' Canseco in the mix makes it all the nicer for Green.
``He really helped me along a lot,'' said Green. ``He told me last spring (1998) that I was going to do 30/30 (30 homers and 30 steals) that year. He kept pushing me toward it.''
Green did 35/35. Tuesday, the stolen bases don't matter much.
BOSTON -- When Blue Jays
scout Moose Johnson first saw a teenager named Shawn Green in
1991, he said he filed the following report:
"Good looking, tall, left-handed hitter. Long neck. Has the resemblance in size, stature and swing to Ted Williams."
Tonight, where Williams carved out his Hall of Fame career at Fenway Park with the Boston Red Sox, Green will make his all-star game debut.
"On draft day in 1991, before we signed him we sat in the office and we phoned Bobby Doerr, who played with Ted, to tell him about this kid," Johnson said from Arvada, Colo. "No one is going to be like Ted Williams, but Shawn Green is a pretty darn good player."
Johnson's report may
sound like a scout's tall tale, so we check with someone else.
"I almost fainted when I heard about what Moose put in his report," Jays scout John Cole said. Told of the early comparison to Williams, Green said jokingly yesterday: "Did they put in that I had big ears, too?"
What's probably most special about Shawn Green, Blue Jays all-star outfielder, more so than the comparisons to Williams, is the fact he was buried on the bench until 1998, when manager Tim Johnson put him in the lineup every day.
During Green's first three seasons, the most at-bats he had were 429. If this all-star week is one of his career highlights, what's his lowlight? "In 1997, when they brought in Ruben Sierra," said Green, who subsequently wound up on the bench.
Jays president Gord Ash often has been knocked for his past deals, but imagine if Green was showing up at the all-star game tonight in say, a Cincinnati uniform?
"At one stage, 80% of the people in organization wanted him traded," Johnson, who now works for the Phillies, said. "Even a coach said it was time to trade him -- he had been around long enough and couldn't hit left-handers.
"I argued, telling him: 'You wait, he'll be like Paul O'Neill.' He couldn't hit a lefty, that's why Cincinnati got rid of him."
O'Neill is now the anchor of the Yankees lineup.
The group that wanted to deal Green lost out. Green stayed put and blossomed. In 1998, he hit .278 with 35 homers and 100 RBIs. This season, he's hitting .327 with 25 homers and 70 RBIs.
Green grew up loving baseball, from playing catch with his pop, Ira, to going to his first game at Candlestick Park as a seven-year-old -- "it went extra innings and the Giants won" -- to being impressed at how patient Cal Ripken was signing autographs, including one for him.
In 1986, as a 13-year-old, he had a foot on the railing of Angels Stadium ready to jump on to the field to celebrate the Angels eliminating Boston in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
"I was one of the first kids there in the seventh inning," Green said. "By the ninth there were thousands and I was worried about being crushed."
The Angels' first trip to the World Series never came as Boston's Dave Henderson homered off reliever Donnie Moore. The Red Sox won and went on to face the Mets in the World Series. Five years later, Green was selected 16th overall by the Jays in the free-agent draft.
"The numerical ratings differed on Shawn," scouting director Bob Engle has said, "but the comments were the same. We all liked him."
Cole, who saw Green most often, said "everyone else's grade was higher than mine."
Pitcher David Cone, a former Jay now with the New York Yankees, believes Green has gained maturity and confidence.
"Used to be you could pound him inside for a strike," Cone said. "Now he covers both sides of the plate well. You go inside on him and he turns on it for a home run."
The tall, gangly kid with the great stroke hasn't grown up to be Ted Williams, but he's here at the all-star game with the best in baseball.
"Let me tell you one thing," said Ed Sprague, a former Jay now with the Pittsburgh Pirates, "this isn't going to be his last trip either."
BOSTON -- The Green Monster proved to be no match for Big Mac -- in the first round, that is. Neither, for that matter, did anyone on the American League squad last night at the all-star game home run derby. The first-round results were Mark McGwire 13, the entire five-man American League squad a paltry 10.
Big Mac, who was a big bomb in Denver last year when he topped out with four, had a field day with the Green Monster as 11 of the 13 homers he hit in the opening round went out of the park.. He sent one soaring off the light tower, about 100 feet above the field and 60 feet over the wall's top. His longest shot was his last of the first round, a 488-foot drive deep over the screen and into the summer night.
Even eventual winner Ken Griffey Jr., of the Seattle Mariners, sounded awed.
"(You're) watching Mark hit them 500 feet ... and his balls are doing the postal service, just flying by you and dropping mail off at your house," Griffey said.
But when Griffey rang up 10 in the second round, McGwire couldn't answer the challenge. McGwire pounded out three and was eliminated.
"Sitting and waiting tired me out," McGwire said. "I probably tried a little too hard. I was more relaxed in the first round."
In the final round, Griffey emerged triumphant for the second consecutive year as he downed Jeromy Burnitz of the Brewers 3-2.
The Blue Jays' Shawn Green was a first-round casualty with two homers.
McGwire's moaning and complaining about the poor quality of pitches he got last year from Rick Matthews at Coors Field, resulted in each participant last night having the option of facing their pitcher of choice. McGwire, though, didn't bring his own personal batting-practice pitcher as he hit against San Diego's Tim Flannery.
In Green's case, it was a no-brainer. The right fielder opted for longtime friend Ben Strack, who throws batting practice for the Angels.
"Ben and I have been together since Little League," Green said. "We played in high school together."
Canada's Larry Walker of the Colorado Rockies was first up, hit two homers and called it a night.
The most embarrassed hitter had to be Oakland's John Jaha -- a right-handed hitter -- who connected just once. Not only that, but Jaha, also swung and missed on two consecutive pitches.
BOSTON -- It was two
days of fun and a whole bag full of memories for Shawn Green.
Tony Fernandez? Well, he has been there before.
For Green, it was his first trip to the mid-season classic and the rookie all-star responded by legging out an infield single in his first all-star at-bat.
Green, 26, was the first Jay to see game action as he replaced starter Manny Ramirez in right in the fourth and an inning later Fernandez replaced Cal Ripken at third.
Green came to the plate in the fifth with one out and hit a bouncer up that middle that was tipped by Houston pitcher Jose Lima. The Jays right-fielder beat the relay from second baseman Jeff Kent arrived a step late.
One out later, Fernandez
grounded into a fielder's choice, erasing Green at second.
Fernandez stayed in the game for the duration and, in his second at-bat, he struck out against Houston's Billy Wagner.
Green had just the one at-bat as he was replaced in the seventh.
Prior to the game, Green said the two days had been an enjoyable experience. "It has been pretty hectic, what with all the interviews and requests, but it has been great," Green said. "It has been a lot of fun."
Although he homered just twice in the home run derby the night before, Green said the experience was "pretty awesome."
"I wasn't nervous or anything. It was just that it was so long before I got to the plate. I feel like I'm just a tiny act in a big circus," he said.
BOSTON - Part of the excitement of the All-Star Game for the players is meeting other players they've admired. That isn't limited to current players, but those from the past as well.
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Shawn Green spent a lot of time watching tapes and studying the book on hitting written by Hall of Famer Ted Williams. That's why meeting him Monday was such a thrill.
``He said he really likes the way I hit,'' Green said. ``It was the biggest compliment I've ever received. He might have just been being nice, but I can believe the other way.''
Green has been on teams with Paul Molitor and Jose Canseco. He has played against Roger Clemens and Cal Ripken Jr. But there is something different about meeting Williams, one of the greatest hitters to play the game.
``He's a legend,'' Green said. ``A lot of guys here, like (Mark) McGwire and (Sammy) Sosa, are becoming legends if they're not already. You're still in awe, but it's a lot more touchable. You see Ted Williams, and it's like a god.''
Green is a huge crowd favorite in Toronto, and is considered one of the best young hitters in baseball. He also speaks often to children, and in their eyes, he's up there with Green's sports heroes.
``I still can't relate to that,'' Green said. ``I think it's important to be a good role model and have an influence on kids' lives. There's so much negative stuff going on out there. They can come to the ballpark and see good stuff. It's hard to see people looking at me in that kind of light.''
He does have some good baseball memories from when he was a kid.
In 1986, he was at Anaheim Stadium for Game 5 of the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. About the seventh inning, Green, who grew up in Tustin, went down to the railing and waited for the game to end so he could rush the field.
He never made it.
``I was ready to jump on the field, but I was 13 years old at the time and a scrawny kid,'' Green said. ``By the ninth inning, there were like a thousand people behind me. I got scared and left.''
But he had another chance when the Angels clinched their division.
He ran onto the field and plucked grass and put it in an empty film container. He has since lost the container, but he knows exactly what souvenir he'd like to take from Fenway Park.
``The red seat where Ted Williams hit his (longest) home run,'' Green said. ``But I'm sure someone has dibs on that.''
That seat in right field, is said to be where Williams hit a 502-foot home run June 9, 1946.