Kansas City having the top vote-getter at seven of the nine American League positions in last week’s All-Star game voting update was a big story, but get this: Now they have eight of the nine spots.
Omar Infante, who’s hitting .204 with an AL-worst .496 OPS this season, has jumped ahead of Jose Altuve to become the leading vote-getter at second base.
Which means the only non-Royals player currently in line to start the All-Star game for the AL is reigning MVP Mike Trout of the Angels, who’d be surrounded by catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Eric Hosmer, second baseman Omar Infante, shortstop Alcides Escobar, third baseman Mike Moustakas, outfielders Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain, and designated hitter Kendrys Morales.
Alex Rios is the only Royals player on the AL ballot not currently in line to start and even he’s fourth among outfielders despite playing just 18 games and hitting .197 this season.
Here are the position-by-position totals:
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.