Ramirez in line for second ASG start
Uggla, Cantu highlight other Marlins on All-Star ballot
MIAMI -- A fan favorite a year ago, Hanley Ramirez is now in position to do something never done before by a Marlins player -- become a two-time All-Star starter.
In addition, Ramirez also could be the first Marlin to start in successive seasons. For that to happen, ultimately, the fans will decide.
The 25-year-old from the Dominican Republic was the National League's starting shortstop in 2008, making him just the second Florida player to achieve that honor.
"I've said it since his rookie year," Marlins outfielder Cody Ross said. "He hits the ball harder than anyone I've ever seen on a consistent basis. He brings everything that you want in a leader onto the field. He can do everything. It's a joy being able to play with him and watching him day in and day out."
Technically, Ramirez was the first to receive all of his votes while wearing a Marlins uniform. In the organization's inaugural season in 1993, Gary Sheffield was selected by the fans to start in the All-Star Game. However, Sheffield was traded to the Marlins a few weeks before the game, and a majority of his votes came while he was with the Padres.
The 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium featured two Marlins -- Ramirez and second baseman Dan Uggla. A two-time All-Star, Uggla also participated in last year's Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium.
St. Louis will host the 80th All-Star Game on July 14 at Busch Stadium.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
Online voting will start off the All-Star process. Voting at Dolphin Stadium begins on May 4 and ends on June 11.
All eight of the Marlins' regulars are on the ballot: Ramirez (shortstop), Uggla (second base), John Baker (catcher), Jorge Cantu (first base), Emilio Bonifacio (third base), Jeremy Hermida (left field), Cameron Maybin (center field) and Ross (right field).
"It's something that you dream of," Ross said about being on the ballot. "I remember going to Rangers games when I was younger and filling out the ballots for all my favorite players. To get the chance to be on one now is pretty special. I think last year was the first one I was ever on. I wanted to get one, but wasn't able to. Maybe this year I'll be able to get one."
Florida's most talented player, of course, is Ramirez, the face of the franchise and one of the league's elite offensive players. This season, the 25-year-old is batting third after he was one of the game's top leadoff batters. More power is expected from Ramirez, who certainly is capable of a 30-homer, 100-RBI campaign.
One of the unsung players on the Marlins is Cantu, who also has 30-homer, 100-RBI potential. A year ago, he paced the team with 95 RBIs, to go along with 29 home runs.
Cantu is batting cleanup, providing plenty of protection for Ramirez. Uggla, who has two 30-plus-homer seasons in his career, has been an elite second baseman since his rookie season in 2006.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.