Go figure: Stats don't sway vote Some also-rans post better numbers


It was a big week for Robby Thompson everywhere but the ballot box.

The San Francisco Giants second baseman went 11-for-22, slugged four homers and leaped into the top 10 in National League hitting.

What it got him was 42,000 new votes in All-Star ballots. And that wasn't enough to budge from seventh place, light years behind the leader and favorite at second base, Ryne Sandberg of the Chicago Cubs.

As the All-Star balloting moves into the homestretch -- starters will be announced on July 7 for the July 13 game at Oriole Park -- Thompson is almost 577,000 votes behind Sandberg, though statistically he's having a better season.

Thompson not only can't catch Sandberg, but he also probably can't catch second-place Delino DeShields of the Montreal Expos or third-place Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros.

Such are the vagaries of the fan balloting process, in which name recognition and television time tend to carry more weight than performance.

Through Sunday, Thompson was hitting .328 with eight homers, 36 RBI and six errors. Sandberg, who has been on the disabled list this season, was hitting .307 with four homers, 23 RBI and five errors. DeShields was hitting .259, Biggio .260.

Thompson is not the NL's only deserving player overlooked in the All-Star balloting. Consider these aberrations in the latest count:

Jay Bell of the Pittsburgh Pirates ranks seventh among NL shortstops, 407,000 votes behind leader Ozzie Smith of the St. Louis Cardinals. Bell, with a .321 average and only four errors, has been no higher than seventh any week of the voting. Smith (.274, nine errors) leads runner-up Barry Larkin (.312, 12 errors) of the Cincinnati Reds by 45,000 votes.

* Kevin Mitchell of the Reds ranks 12th among NL outfielders, 268,000 votes behind the Atlanta Braves' David Justice, who holds down the third starting spot. Justice is hitting .227 with 15 homers and 43 RBI, Mitchell .372 with 11 homers and 45 RBI in 207 at-bats.

The injury-prone Mitchell has a 19-game hitting streak, longest current streak in the majors, but Sunday missed his second straight game with a sore left shoulder. Down time or not, who wouldn't want to see Mitchell muscling up in the homer-hitting contest the day before the game in the Camden Yards jet stream?

* Then there is Andres Galarraga of the Colorado Rockies, who is fourth in the voting at first base despite his .414 average, 11 homers and 57 RBI. First base, however, might be the most competitive position of all. The Philadelphia Phillies' John Kruk (.344), San Francisco's Will Clark (.264) and the San Diego Padres' Fred McGriff (.259) are 1-2-3. Among those behind Galarraga are Houston's Jeff Bagwell (.326), Chicago's Mark Grace (.320) and St. Louis' Gregg Jefferies (.331).

* At catcher, Mike Piazza, the Los Angeles Dodgers rookie, is fourth behind the Phillies' Darren Daulton. Yet, Piazza's numbers (.331, 15 homers, 52 RBI) are comparable to Daulton's (.257, 15, 59).

The only lead change this week was at third base, where Gary Sheffield went from the Padres to the Florida Marlins and from second place to first. The Giants' Matt Williams, last week's leader, fell to second and went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained abdominal muscle.


Results through Sunday for the starting National League team for the 64th All-Star Game, to be played Tuesday, July 13 at Baltimore:


1, Darren Daulton, Philadelphia, 752,999. 2, Benito Santiago, Florida, 372,265. 3, Greg Olson, Atlanta, 191,704. 4, Mike Piazza, Los Angeles, 187,659. 5, Don Slaught, Pittsburgh, 152,645. 6, Tim Laker, Montreal, 125,120. 7, Tom Pagnozzi, St. Louis, 118,849. 8, Kirt Manwaring, San Francisco, 113,929.

First basemen 1, John Kruk, Philadelphia, 484,495. 2, Will Clark, San Francisco, 3, Fred McGriff, San Diego, 340,236. 4, Andres Galarraga, Colorado, 197,370. 5, Jeff Bagwell, Houston, 180,623. Mark Grace, Chicago, 172,325. 7, Sid Bream, Atlanta, 133,707. 8, Eric Karros, Los Angeles, 99,251.

Second basemen 1, Ryne Sandberg, Chicago, 714,340. 2, Delino DeShields, Montreal, 402,002. 3, Craig Biggio, Houston, 213,341. 4, Mark Lemke, Atlanta, 175,279. 5, Mickey Morandini, Philadelphia, 161,543. 6, Bip Roberts, Cincinnati, 148,485. 7, Robby Thompson, San Francisco, 137,609. 8, Geronimo Pena, St. Louis, 97,190.


1, Ozzie Smith, St. Louis, 514,243. 2, Barry Larkin, Cincinnati, 3, Jeff Blauser, Atlanta, 261,688. 4, Wil Cordero, Montreal, 126,039. 5, Walt Weiss, Florida, 118,539. 6, Royce Clayton, San Francisco, 109,925. 7, Jay Bell, Pittsburgh, 106,671. 8, Rey Sanchez, Chicago, 79,579.

Third basemen 1, Gary Sheffield, Florida, 400,036. 2, Matt Williams, San Francisco, 391,539. 3, Terry Pendleton, Atlanta, 361,927. 4, Dave Hollins, Philadelphia, 251,504. 5, Chris Sabo, Cincinnati, 212,465. Charlie Hayes, Colorado, 112,995. 7, Frank Bolick, Montreal, 109,335. 8, Steve Buechele, Chicago, 108,707.


1, Barry Bonds, San Francisco, 1,161,570. 2, Andy Van Slyke, Pittsburgh, 503,809. 3, David Justice, Atlanta, 445,644. 4, Len Dykstra, Philadelphia, 441,809. 5, Tony Gwynn, San Diego, 356,972. 6, Larry Walker, Montreal, 342,554. 7, Moises Alou, Montreal, 292,623. 8, Darryl Strawberry, Los Angeles, 264,880.

Marquis Grissom, Montreal, 251,586.

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