Now that the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote has returned for its 15th season to decide the 34th and final roster spots for the 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego, with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET, here are 20
Now that the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote has returned for its 15th season to decide the 34th and final roster spots for the 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego, with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET, here are 20 questions to see how much you really know about this popular rite of summer.
Q. After 30 winners, has every position on the field been represented by now?
A. No. The entire middle infield is still waiting. When Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals won last year, it marked the fourth consecutive year that a corner infielder and a pitcher have won. And in each of the four straight years before that, a corner infielder and an outfielder won. Second basemen Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia and shortstop Trevor Story are the latest to try.
Q. Which nominee on this year's ballot was the only one to win a Final Vote and a Rookie of the Year Award in the same season?
A.Evan Longoria, who struck out to end the 13th inning of the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium and went on to lead Tampa Bay to its first World Series appearance.
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Q. Which future Hall of Famer fell short in consecutive Final Vote appearances?
A. Frank Thomas of the White Sox, 2003-04. The Big Hurt still had five All-Star selections during his 19-year career and was inducted in '14.
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Q. Who were the first two winners?
A. Outfielders Andruw Jones of the Braves and Johnny Damon of the Red Sox in 2002.
Q. Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun could earn his seventh All-Star selection if he wins the Final Vote. If he does, he will break the record of what shortstop-turned-first baseman who won the 2006 NL Final Vote and still holds the distinction of more prior All-Star selections (five) than any winner?
A. Nomar Garciaparra, representing the Dodgers. He had earned all of his previous five selections as a Red Sox shortstop.
Q. Which team has won the most times?
A. The White Sox, with a 4-for-10 record. Outfielder Scott Podsednik won in 2005, catcher A.J. Pierzynski in '06 (remember "Punch A.J."?), first baseman Paul Konerko in '11 and pitcher Chris Sale in '14. The Phillies and Red Sox are in second with three wins apiece.
Q. Who is the only two-time winner?
A.Shane Victorino, who won with the Phillies in 2009 and '11.
Q. Japan has produced three different Final Vote winners. Who are they?
A. Hideki Matsui of the Yankees in 2004, Hideki Okajima of the Red Sox in '07, and Yu Darvish of the Rangers in '12.
Q. What division has not won since 2007?
A. NL West. Padres pitcher Chris Young got the nod that year. In addition to Story, Brandon Belt and Jake Lamb increase the odds of that drought ending.
Q. Alliances between multiple clubs are now traditional during Final Vote campaigning. Which two teams formed the first alliance in 2008, and how did a prior World Series play a role?
A. The White Sox supported one of their former 2005 World Series championship members, NL nominee Aaron Rowand of the Giants. The Giants agreed to do the same for Jermaine Dye. Neither player went to that All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, but the alliance concept was a winner.
Q. Who are the only Final Vote winners to also win a World Series title that same year?
A. Moustakas last year, Okajima in '07 and Podsednik in '05.
Q. The "Support the 'Stache" campaign got this candidate a lot of votes in 2008, even an endorsement from the American Mustache Institute, but he still finished third. Who was this two-time Final Vote nominee?
A. Jason Giambi of the Yankees. He finished third that year behind Longoria and Dye of the White Sox, five years after finishing third behind Jason Varitek and Thomas in 2003.
Q. The whole "grassroots campaign" element was introduced to the Final Vote when this player went on The Dan Patrick Show to tout his case for radio listeners. Who was he?
A. Brewers left fielder Geoff Jenkins in 2003. His club took the initiative to get him some airtime, also driving a major email campaign. It helped him rally to beat out Benito Santiago of the Giants, Kenny Lofton of the Pirates, Orlando Cabrera of the Expos and Luis Castillo of the Marlins.
Q. What is the only team yet to be represented in the Final Vote?
A. Seattle. You'll get your turn, Mariners fans.
Q. Which two winners rode a "Bran-Torino" campaign into the All-Star Game?
A. Brandon Inge of the Tigers and Victorino of the Phillies won the 2009 Final Vote thanks in no small part to a catchphrase that became a campaign sensation. The "Bran-Torino" campaign urged companies in Michigan and Pennsylvania to give workers time off to vote for their candidates.
Q. Which player was the first to use Twitter as a winning difference-maker?
A. Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher in 2009. He edged Kevin Youkilis of the rival Red Sox in a close race.
Q. Who was the only player to win a Final Vote after coming up short twice?
A. Konerko. It was his fifth All-Star selection at the time, but he had come up empty in the Final Vote in '04 (third) and '10 (fourth).
Q. Whose 2009 campaign featured Uncle Sam telling people how to vote?
A. Vote Sandoval.
Q. It is a big year for the Cubs in the Midsummer Classic with five starting position players elected by fans. Who was their only Final Vote winner?
A. Anthony Rizzo in 2014. Combined with Sale's victory, it was a Windy City sweep.
Q. What do Clayton Kershaw, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Verlander, Trevor Hoffman, Dallas Keuchel, Bryce Harper, Torii Hunter, Adrian Gonzalez, David Wright, Carlos Gonzalez, Jim Thome, Roy Halladay, Andre Ethier, Adam Jones, Ryan Zimmerman, Kinsler, Justin Morneau, Victor Martinez, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, Larry Walker, Todd Helton and Thomas all have in common?
A. They were Final Vote candidates, but lost.
Balloting continues through 4 p.m. ET on Friday. To submit your ballot, go to MLB.com/vote or vote via text message. To receive the ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text the choice to 89269. Example: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.
On Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, as well as MLB.TV Premium (for authenticated subscribers), and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 87th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.