Outfielders Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome and catcher Geovany Soto have been voted by fans to start the 79th All-Star Game to be played Tuesday, July 15 at Yankee Stadium. Pitchers Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano and infielder Aramis Ramirez have been named to the team as reserves. Manager Lou Piniella will serve as a National League coach.
Dempster, Ramirez and Wood were voted to the team by their fellow players, league managers and coaches as reserves while Zambrano was named to the club by N.L. Manager Clint Hurdle.
The Cubs have three members of the National League starting line-up for the first time since 1937, when catcher Gabby Hartnett, outfielder Frank Demaree and second baseman Billy Herman earned the honor. Three Cubs pitchers have been named to the squad for the first time in franchise history. Chicago’s four position players are its most since having five in 1988 (Andre Dawson, Shawon Dunston, Vance Law, Rafael Palmeiro and Ryne Sandberg).
Alfonso Soriano finished second among all National League outfielders in voting and has been selected to his seventh All-Star Game in a row, his fifth time as a starter. He was selected to the N.L. All-Star team as a reserve last year in his first season with the Cubs. He was also selected as an All-Star starter in 2002-04 (second base) and 2006 (outfield).
Kosuke Fukudome has been elected to start the All-Star Game in his first year as a Cub, becoming the first rookie outfielder in club history to make the team. He was a four-time All-Star in Japan (he was selected a fifth time in 2006 but declined the invitation due to injury). Soriano and Fukudome are the second pair of Cubs outfielders to be elected All-Star Game starters in club history and the first since 1936, joining Frank Demaree and Augie Galan.
Geovany Soto is the first rookie in National League history to be elected to start at catcher in the All-Star Game and is the first Cubs catcher to start the game since Gabby Hartnett in 1937. Prior to Soto and Fukudome, only three Cubs rookies had been selected to the All-Star team: second baseman Dan Johnson (1944, did not play), catcher Toby Atwell (1952, did not play) and pitcher Sam Jones (1955), the only Cubs rookie to play in an All-Star Game. Soto is the first Cubs catcher to be named to the All-Star team since Joe Girardi in 2000.
Ryan Dempster has been named to the second National League All-Star team of his career. He also made the squad in 2000 as a starting pitcher with the Florida Marlins, though he did not appear in the Game. He and Zambrnao join Kerry Wood as the first Cubs starting pitcher-relief pitcher combination at the All-Star Game since Rick Sutcliffe and Mitch Williams in 1989.
Aramis Ramirez has been named to his second National League All-Star squad, his first time as a reserve. He made the start at third base in 2005 and went 1-for-2 with a walk at Comerica Park. He is the first Cubs third baseman to earn multiple All-Star honors since Ron Santo earned nine All-Star honors between 1963-73.
Kerry Wood has been named to his second National League All-Star team, his first time as a relief pitcher. He was previously selected to the team in 2003 and tossed one scoreless inning with two strikeouts at U.S. Cellular Field. He is the first Cubs relief pitcher to make the team since Randy Myers in 1995.
Carlos Zambrano has been named to his third National League All-Star team, the first Cub pitcher to be honored three times since Bruce Sutter was named to the team four years in a row from 1977-80. Zambrano pitched one inning in relief in 2004 at Houston and was selected but did not appear in the 2006 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh.