07/06/2003 8:00 PM ET
Padres thrilled over Star White
Cast your ballot in the etopps All-Star Final Vote
By Mike Scarr / MLB.com
AL All-Star roster
NL All-Star roster
SAN DIEGO -- Just call him an All-Star.
After logging 10 seasons in the Major Leagues, Rondell White will be heading to his first All-Star Game in season No. 11.
The Padres left fielder was named one of the reserves to the National League All-Star team on Sunday. The game will be played in Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field, the home of the White Sox, on Tuesday, July 15.
"He's a great person and a great teammate," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's had a great career and this will be a moment he'll never forget. He's so popular here. Our whole club was excited for him when they heard."
White took the news in stride, giving credit to some of other players on the Padres who were considered for selection to the All-Star squad. But he was nonetheless pleased that he got the call.
"I'm just glad to go and represent the organization," White said. "I give thanks to Bochy and [Padres GM Kevin] Towers for bringing me over here and giving me a chance to play everyday."
White, who has also played for Montreal, the Cubs and the Yankees, will join seven other outfielders on the NL All-Star team, the three starters and four other reserves.
Albert Pujols led all NL ballots with 2,030,702 votes and will start in the outfield along with Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants and Gary Sheffield of the Atlanta Braves. In addition to White, the reserve outfielders are Andruw Jones of the Braves, Preston Wilson of the Colorado Rockies and Jim Edmonds of the St. Louis Cardinals, who were all voted in on players and coaches balloting.
NL All-Star manager Dusty Baker then added outfielders White and Luis Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacks to the list.
"There are a lot of great outfielders in the game. I think at this position, you've got to be doing really well to make it," White said. "I think everyone would like to make it at least once before his career was over. So you just take it as it comes and hope you make it before your career is up."
White has hit .300 or better in four of his previous 10 Major League seasons and has a career batting average of .288. He entered Sunday's game against the Giants hitting .285 with 16 homers and 47 RBIs, placing second to club-leader Ryan Klesko in the power department.
But it has been his knack for the dramatic that has electrified the club in recent weeks and caught the attention of the baseball world.
In a span of nine days, White hit game-altering grand slams. On June 20, White drilled a walk-off slam to help propel the Padres from a 3-0 ninth-inning deficit into an improbable 5-3 win over the Mariners.
Then up in Seattle, White struck again with a grand slam, this time tying the game as the Padres rallied with six runs in the ninth to race past the Mariners, 8-6, and take the series at Safeco Field.
"Not in the ninth inning, one to win it and one to tie it," Bochy said at the time of White's late-inning heroics. "That's something that I haven't seen and obviously that's very, very huge for us."
White has appeared in 76 of the Padres' 89 games this season, getting the start in left in 68 of those games while also serving as the team's designated hitter during Interleague Play. The 31-year-old has helped to solidify an outfield that seemed in disarray only halfway through Spring Training when Phil Nevin, the starting left fielder, went down for the season with a dislocated left shoulder.
But he had to overcome a subpar 2002 when he hit just .240 in 95 games with the Yankees while he battled injuries.
"I went home and worked hard in the offseason and I wanted to come in here and prove that last season was an off year," White said. "I've had a good year this season, but I still have a long way to go. It's hard. I work out every day, but I don't want to have a repeat of last year. That was a disappointment."
White came to the Padres in a trade that sent Bubba Trammell and pitching prospect Mark Phillips to the Yankees in exchange for White. What the Milledgeville, Ga., native has done for the club is bring a professional style of play and a veteran presence to the club.
"I couldn't be happier for him," Bochy said. "He's been great on this ballclub. He's done a great job for us. It's going to be nice to see him in the All-Star Game. The guy has done everything for us."
The remaining NL starters are catcher Javier Lopez and second baseman Marcus Giles of the Atlanta Braves; first baseman Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies; and third baseman Scott Rolen and shortstop Edgar Renteria of the Cardinals.
The remaining reserves as voted by players and coaches are catcher Paul Lo Duca of the Los Angeles Dodgers; first baseman Richie Sexson of the Milwaukee Brewers; second baseman Jose Vidro of the Montreal Expos; third baseman Mike Lowell of the Florida Marlins; shortstop Rafael Furcal of the Atlanta Braves; starting pitchers Kevin Brown of the Dodgers, Shawn Chacon of the Rockies, Mark Prior of the Chicago Cubs, Woody Williams of the Cardinals and Jason Schmidt of the San Francisco Giants; and relievers John Smoltz of the Braves, Eric Gagne of the Dodgers and Billy Wagner of the Houston Astros.
The remaining reserves as named by Baker in conjunction with Major League Baseball are: Aaron Boone of the Cincinnati Reds; and pitchers Russ Ortiz of the Braves, Armando Benitez of the New York Mets, Randy Wolf of the Philadelphia Phillies, Mike Williams of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kerry Wood of the Cubs as a replacement for Chacon, who is currently on the disabled list.
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.