|© 2004 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Five Indians named to All-Star team07/04/2004 7:45 PM ET
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Manager Eric Wedge wanted the team to celebrate the moment. So Wedge gathered all of his players and coaches inside the visitor's clubhouse, and he announced who had made the All-Star team.
OK, one Indians player was assured. Every team in baseball, after all, gets one All-Star representative. But Wedge rattled off a second name, then a third and finally a fourth.
Four Indians on the All-Star team, really?
Yes, Wedge told his players and staff that second baseman Ronnie Belliard, left-fielder Matt Lawton, catcher Victor Martinez and pitcher C.C. Sabathia had been named to the 2004 team.
"It was exciting for me to see the reaction of their teammates with each individual," Wedge said. "It says a lot about our team."
What also says a lot about that team is the growing respect its players are getting in baseball circles. The Indians are a team with a 40-42 record, yet they had as many players make the team this season as they did in 2000, a season in which the Tribe was a legitimate AL powerhouse.
In addition to the four Indians who did make the 2004 team, the Tribe has DH/first baseman Travis Hafner in the running for the fifth spot. Hafner, one of the most productive DHs in the league, is one of five players that fans can pick from in the Final Vote.
"To get that kind of respect -- four guys on the All-Star team and possibly a fifth -- is awesome," said Sabathia, who will be making his second All-Star appearance. "I'm excited for everybody."