David Wright acknowledged that this year's All-Star Game carried more significance to him than his previous six combined.
The game's 84th edition will take place July 16 at Citi Field, and for Wright - who has never known another major league employer and tied his future to the New York Mets when he signed an eight-year contract during the offseason - it felt important to be there, starting at third base.
"I was drafted by this team, developed by this team, and a lot of players don't get the opportunity to participate in one All-Star game, much less the All-Star games I've had the opportunity to participate in," said Wright, a former Hickory High School standout. "This year, being at home, obviously it's special."
Wright was granted his wish when final fan voting results were revealed Saturday, and he learned he would be the National League's starting third baseman. This is Wright's seventh time as an All-Star.
Joining him from Hampton Roads will be Colorado outfielder Michael Cuddyer. A former Great Bridge star, Cuddyer was selected as a reserve after having a major league-leading 27-game hitting streak ended last week. It's Cuddyer's second All-Star berth.
Former Old Dominion ace Justin Verlander of the Tigers earned his sixth selection - and fifth straight.
Overall, Baltimore slugger Chris Davis powered past Tigers Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera in the final week to claim the most fan votes, and Washington outfielder Bryce Harper won a spot in the NL's starting lineup.
Righthander Max Scherzer was one of a major league-best six Tigers chosen. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina led the NL fan vote. He is one of the Cardinals' five All-Stars, tops in the NL.
"I think any time you are getting that recognition, not only from your fan base but from everybody across the nation, I think it feels good to know that people are watching," Davis said.
Mets ace Matt Harvey will join Wright in representing the host team. Harvey received the most votes among NL pitchers in player balloting, outpacing the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.
Cuban defector Yasiel Puig wasn't picked,? not yet, at least. A Dodgers outfielder with just one month in the big leagues, Puig is among five candidates for the final NL spot, with fans voting online through Thursday.
Puig is joined in the final NL five by Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Giants outfielder Hunter Pence.
The American League's five are all relievers: Detroit's Joaquin Benoit, Toronto's Steve Delabar, the Yankees' David Robertson, Texas' Tanner Scheppers and Boston's Koji Uehara.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, 43, was one of the 68 players selected. Rivera, the career saves leader who is retiring after this season, will make his 13th appearance, second most by a pitcher behind Hall of Famer Warren Spahn.
"The fact that I went through all the adversity and I'm standing here talking about the All-Star game... it's a privilege," said Rivera, who has 29 saves this season after missing most of last season because of a torn knee ligament.
Davis finished with 8,272,243 fan votes to edge Cabrera for his first selection. Davis has 33 home runs, seventh best before the break in big league history.
Davis is one of three Orioles selected by fans.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy and outfielder Adam Jones also got starting spots. Third baseman Manny Machado was picked as a reserve.
Scherzer is the first pitcher to start a season 13-0 since Roger Clemens in 1986. Joining him from Detroit are first baseman Prince Fielder, shortstop Jhonny Peralta and outfielder Torii Hunter. Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who will run the AL squad after leading Detroit to the World Series, picked Verlander.
"This is not a simple thing, but I'm proud of it," Leyland said. "We worked hard on it. We're not going to be perfect. I put a lot of time and thought into it. I had a lot of help. It's still not going to make everybody happy. There's going to be guys who should be All-Stars who are left off. That happens every year."
One player left off was Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson. The Athletics' lone selection was pitcher Bartolo Colon, 40.
Colon is an All-Star for the first time since 2005, when he won the AL Cy Young Award. At 11-3 with a 2.73 ERA, Colon made his third All-Star team. This one comes after he began the season finishing a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
Harper, 20, trailed Justin Upton by several thousand votes, but he hit a home run in his return from the disabled list this week and earned a starting spot. Upton, the former Great Bridge standout, was not selected. Mike Trout of the Angels Harper's fellow Rookie of the Year, also was voted to his first All-Star start.
Overall, 30 players will make their first appearance.
In the NL, no players from the three first-place teams were selected by fans as starters. But the Central-leading Pirates, with baseball's best record at 53-32, landed four players on the squad for the first time since 1981: closer Jason Grilli, righthander Jeff Locke, third baseman Pedro Alvarez and outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
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