NL All-Star roster
NEW YORK -- They are a lethal tandem in the middle of the Red Sox lineup. In fact, they are two of the most prolific right-handed hitters in the Major Leagues.
So it is fitting that shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and left fielder Manny Ramirez are the two players who will represent the Red Sox at the All-Star Game on July 15 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
There remains a chance that the Sox will have three All-Stars, as catcher Jason Varitek is one of the five American League players on the
etopps All-Star Final Vote.
For Garciaparra and Ramirez -- Boston's dangerous 3-4 combo -- the All-Star Game has become an annual event.
This is the fifth time Garciaparra has made the team in his seven seasons. Ramirez is going to the Midsummer Classic for the sixth consecutive season. This is his seventh selection overall.
"It's exciting every year," said Ramirez, who is hitting .325 with 20 homers and 66 RBIs. "You want to make it every year. There are so many good players in the league, it's hard to go every year. I'm pleased that the fans like me a lot and every year they keep voting for me. That's the first thing I want to do, thank my fans for voting for me."
Ramirez has been voted in as a starter by the fans all three years he's worn a Red Sox uniform.
Garciaparra (.330 average, 23 doubles, 12 triples, 13 homers, 57 RBIs) will go as a reserve after being voted in by a committee of players, coaches and managers.
Yet the feeling never gets old for either Sox star.
"It's always nice to be recognized by your peers or by anyone. It's a pretty big honor," said Garciaparra. "There are so many guys who are so deserving. I just think it's an exhibition and a time to just enjoy the game. There are so many great players out there today. It's just a time where you can come together for a couple of days and just enjoy baseball."
The only thing Garciaparra regretted was that teammates such as Varitek, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Todd Walker, Bill Mueller, Trot Nixon and Kevin Millar didn't get selected.
"A lot of guys should be going," Garciaparra said. "So far there are two of us, hopefully there will be another one. When you have success it's a reflection of everybody. This really is a team sport."
Varitek -- though he still has a glimmer of hope -- took the news in stride.
"It's a nice thing but you can't put your whole life's stake into one personal thing," said the switch-hitting catcher, who has 15 homers and 50 RBIs. "It would be a great honor to be selected, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it."
Sox manager Grady Little was philosophical.
"I'm disappointed that a couple of guys didn't get a chance to go, but there's just not enough room for everyone to go," Little said. "We're proud for the guys that are going. Nomar and Manny well deserve it."
They were, without question, the two slam dunk candidates on the Sox.
Heading into Sunday action, Garciaparra was first in the AL in triples and runs, and second in hits, multi-hit games and total bases. Ramirez was fifth in RBIs and seventh in batting average and homers.
"Every year I play hard and put up good numbers to try and be there because a lot of guys are doing well," Ramirez said. "I just do my best. If it happens, it happens."
Garciaparra relishes the event itself.
It's the guys you are competing against 24-7," he said. "You get to see them and appreciate the game and let the fans enjoy themselves."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.