Not since the days of Reggie, Catfish and Rollie have the Oakland Athletics been this popular.
These A's haven't won three straight World Series, as the 1972-74 Oakland teams did. They have captured the fancy of American League fans, though, with three of them being voted starters for the All-Star team.Outfielder Jose Canseco, the overall leader in the AL with 1,765,499 votes, first baseman Mark McGwire and catcher Terry Steinbach were picked by the fans in results announced Wednesday. The Athletics will be the only team with three starters selected by fans for next Tuesday's classic in Cincinnati.
"This is a great team, and I think the fans realize this," said McGwire, the 1987 Rookie of the Year who is batting 245 with 14 homers and 47 RBI.
Canseco, the AL Rookie of the Year in 1986, leads the league with 23 home runs, 70 runs and 65 RBI.
Canseco and McGwire are 24. Steinbach, who has fought slumps and injuries this year and is batting just .217, is 26.
Joining the three A's on the AL starting team are outfielders Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson of New York, Milwaukee second baseman Paul Molitor, Detroit shortstop Alan Trammell, who is on the disabled list with a broken left elbow, and third baseman Wade Boggs of Boston, the AL's leading batter with a .353 average.
Molitor has served exclusively as a designated hitter this year, but with no DH spot on the ballot, he was placed at second base. And won.
"It's not a perfect system, but the players have to understand it's not going to be fair year-in and year-out," Molitor said.
Ozzie Smith certainly can't have any gripes with the voting. The slick shortstop of the St. Louis Cardinals was the top overall vote getter for the second straight year with 2,106,757.
Smith will start for the National League for the sixth straight year. He is the first player to repeat as the top vote-getter since Rod Carew did it three consecutive years, 1977-79.
Joining Smith in the National League starting infield will be first baseman Will Clark of San Francisco, second baseman Ryne Sandberg of Chicago and Pittsburgh third baseman Bobby Bonilla.
The NL outfield has New York's Darryl Strawberry, Chicago's Andre Dawson and St. Louis' Vince Coleman.
The NL catcher is Gary Carter of the New York Mets, selected to start for the eighth straight season, tying Philadelphia third baseman Mike Schmidt's record for overall starts.
The acrobatic Smith long has been known as the game's premier fielding shortstop. His offense hasn't been bad, either, and he was hitting .281 with 27 stolen bases and 52 runs scored.
The closest voting in the AL was at catcher, where Steinbach had 84,266 more selections than Carlton Fisk of Chicago.
Whitey Herzog of St. Louis is managing the National League team and Minnesota's Tom Kelly handles the American League. They will announce their pitchers and reserves Thursday.