Anderson gets wish Palmeiro stranded

OF may start for AL

1B's 76 RBIs not enough

July 03, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

TORONTO -- Orioles center fielder Brady Anderson is an All-Star, named as a reserve to the American League team by Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove yesterday. This manager Davey Johnson applauds.

Anderson will be in the home-run hitting contest. This leaves Johnson appalled, in a lighthearted sort of way.

"I hope he falls flat on his face," said Johnson, who has been encouraging Anderson to keep swinging hard -- but not too hard.

Anderson, leading the majors in home runs with 29, was the only Oriole player among the reserves, joining two starters, shortstop Cal Ripken and second baseman Roberto Alomar. AL vice president Phyllis Merhige said yesterday that a decision on who will replace Ken Griffey in the starting lineup will be announced Monday, the day before the All-Star Game.

In Cleveland last night, Indians manager Mike Hargrove was asked if Anderson would start. "That's a good question, but I'm not going to answer it," Hargrove replied. "You're going to have to wait."

Passed over was first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who is hitting .308 with 21 homers and 76 RBIs, starter Mike Mussina (10-5, 5.04 ERA) and reliever Arthur Rhodes (9-0, 3.64).

Johnson said, "They have some tough decisions . . . [but] I'm very upset my guy [Palmeiro] didn't make it. Raffy deserved it . . I know some guys are going to be overlooked, but Raffy's got to be on that team."

Palmeiro, who had a homer and four RBIs last night in the 8-2 win over Toronto, acknowledged that he was all but resigned to being left off, what with Frank Thomas being elected and Boston's Mo Vaughn and Oakland's Mark McGwire also having big seasons.

Said Ripken: "I really feel for him. My own feeling is that he's one of the best hitters in the league and should be recognized as one of the very best fielders in the league.

"Unfortunately he's a first baseman, behind first basemen who are having big years. Maybe he gets overlooked because he's a first baseman, but he doesn't get overlooked on this team or in this league.

"It should never be said he's not an All-Star player. He's got to know deep down inside he's a great player. I don't think it's indicative of the type of player he is if he gets left off the All-Star team."

Palmeiro said, "It's hard to feel like an All-Star when you're not there . . . Every year a few people get left off, and it seems like every year I'm always on that list. The three guys who are going deserve it. I can't complain about them."

Hargrove said, "There are about 45 guys we could've had, but there are only 28 spots. There are quite a few who deserved to make it who didn't; there isn't enough room."

This is the eighth time in the past 24 years the Orioles have had three players named to the team, but the first time all three were position players.

But it's still far from the All-Star golden age for the Orioles. From 1969 to 1972, the team had 24 All-Stars; from 1985 to 1996, they've had 25.

Anderson is an All-Star for the second time in his career (he also was an All-Star in 1992), and this is the first time he'll be in the home run contest. Anderson guessed aloud that he might be "the first cruiserweight [190 pounds] in the history of that contest."

Would he be a good bet to win? "Keep in mind what David Letterman says before his show: Please, no wagering."

There will be no special preparation to challenge the likes of Frank Thomas, Fred McGriff, et cetera. (Anderson did joke he may ask Johnson to hold him out of Sunday night's game against Boston to get ready).

"It's always a home run-hitting contest in batting practice," Anderson said, smiling. "I've been preparing for this for the last 70 days."

Palmeiro's stats

Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro has appeared in only one All-Star Game this decade (1991), despite being one of the most productive hitters in the 1990s.

Hits

1. Paul Molitor 1,146

2. Palmeiro 1,141

3. Tony Gwynn 1,138

4. Mark Grace 1,113

5. Kirby Puckett 1,061

Doubles

1. Palmeiro 232

2. Mark Grace 230

3. Kirby Puckett 217

4. Tony Gwynn 216

5. Ken Griffey 191

Home runs, lefty hitter

1. Barry Bonds 230

2. Fred McGriff 218

3. Ken Griffey 196

4. Palmeiro 180

5. David Justice 159

Palmeiro has been selected to the All-Star Game fewer times than any player on these lists.

Gwynn and Griffey have been selected for all seven All-Star games in the '90s. Puckett had been selected for the previous six.

Bonds will be making his sixth appearance this decade, McGriff his fourth appearance. Justice and Grace each have appeared in two.

Pub Date: 7/03/96

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