Given that Paul Konerko just won the Final Vote and U-God posted a nice summary of the history of the last man in, I figured it would be a good night to go back to the guy who started the Sox's string of successes in this category: Scott Podsednik.
Podsednik was going against a stacked ballot for the last roster spot of the 2005 American League All-Star team, including not one, but two New York Yankees. Here's what each player did in the first half:
- Scott Podsednik: .294/.369/.344, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 44-for-53 SB
- Carl Crawford: .284/.315/.430, 5 HR, 35 RBI, 27-for-32 SB
- Derek Jeter: .308/.393/.452, 11 HR, 37 RBI
- Hideki Matsui: .320/.384/.530, 14 HR, 70 RBI
- Torii Hunter: .271/.342/.481, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 19-for-26 SB
Based on popularity, one would think Jeter would win in a walk. Based on performance, Matsui should've run away with it.
Sure enough, Jeter grabbed an early lead when the Final Vote totals started coming in. But looking back at Scott Reifert's blog, it's funny how the support for Podsednik took on a life of its own. His teammates voted for him, and urged fans to back them up. Sure enough, the founder of this very blog caught the fever.
When all was said and done, Podsednik made it to his first and only All-Star Game on the strength of a popularity contest, and through Reifert he issued an earnest thank you.
I want to personally thank everyone – my friends, my family, White Sox fans, baseball fans in general, the Chicago White Sox organization, and of course, my teammates – for showing their support for me during the past three days of on-line voting for the final spot on the American League All-Star Team.
The response has been amazing and humbling. Being named to the All-Star Team is a dream every 10-year-old enjoys when growing up playing baseball. Thanks to your votes, I will have the opportunity to fulfill those dreams on Tuesday night in Detroit at Major League Baseball’s 76th All-Star Game.
It will be an experience I will never forget.
It's kind of funny how it worked out. Podsednik wasn't supposed to sneak past players with better stats and a larger fan base, but he found his way onto the All-Star team. Just like the Sox weren't supposed to jump out to a 57-29 first-half record after trading a very good slugger in Carlos Lee for Podsednik, parts and cash. Just like how the Sox weren't supposed to lead wire-to-wire to capture the division. And just like how the Sox weren't supposed to storm through the playoffs, thanks in large part to a walk-off homer by Podsednik himself.
But as we were to find out, the 2005 season was chock-full of unlikely occurrences, and Podsednik's All-Star appearance was smack dab in the middle of it.