Podsednik, Oswalt win Internet fan voting for final All-Star spots
In a surprise finish, the unheralded Podsednik edged popular Yankees captain Derek Jeter for the 32nd roster spot on the American League squad. With Podsednik's teammates campaigning for him, the major league leader in stolen bases also beat out Minnesota center fielder Torii Hunter, New York outfielder Hideki Matsui and Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford.
"I really don't have the vocabulary to describe what these last three days have been like for me," Podsednik said. "With the success that we're having as a team, to now have the opportunity to play in the All-Star game with three of my teammates, it's going to be a special couple days."
Acquired from Milwaukee last December in a trade that involved fellow All-Star Carlos Lee, Podsednik is batting .286 with 46 runs as the leadoff hitter for the White Sox, who have the best record in baseball.
He and Oswalt each made the All-Star team for the first time.
"I clicked on the enter button a few times. I'm not going to lie to you," Podsednik said.
Oswalt is 11-7 with a 2.44 ERA after beating the Padres 4-1 Monday. He topped four other NL pitchers in the voting: San Diego's Trevor Hoffman, Arizona's Brandon Webb, and Philadelphia's Billy Wagner and Brett Myers -- the first time fans had a chance to elect a pitcher to the All-Star game since 1934.
"I think that's the best way. If they get to pick the position players, they ought to get to pick the pitchers, too," Oswalt said.
Astros general manager Tim Purpura said he voted online for Oswalt "a lot." The right-hander got a standing ovation and tipped his cap when his selection was announced during Wednesday night's home game against San Diego.
"It's great. It's the first one I've had and it means a lot. It's something I've wanted to do," said Oswalt, who plans to bring plenty of family members to Detroit. "It's a big deal."
The White Sox also made a strong push for Podsednik the past few days. They had a laptop in the dugout before Tuesday's game for players to cast their votes. Employees wore shirts and pins encouraging fans to vote for Podsednik, and the organization ran announcements at the stadium and during broadcasts.
His victory also was announced during a home game Wednesday night, bringing a roar from the crowd.
"I got jittery hearing the ovation," Podsednik said. "And I understand that the support I got from the fans of Chicago, this organization, my teammates, my friends and family -- that's what made it possible. I have a lot of thank yous to extend."
He joins Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko and pitchers Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland on the AL All-Star team. The last time the White Sox had four All-Stars was 1975, when Bucky Dent, Rich Gossage, Jim Kaat and Jorge Orta were selected.
"It's a great feeling," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "What happened today at the ballpark was great. It shows me what kind of players we have, what kind of fans we have. I think this kid deserves to be there. The first one is always exciting."
There were 14.8 million votes cast online. Podsednik got 3,965,473, and Oswalt got 2,652,549. Totals for the other players were not released.
The All-Star game will be played Tuesday night at Comerica Park.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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