2012 MLB All Star game took place in Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium last week, and Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish won in online “Final Vote” fan voting to become 9th Japanese player to represent a league in MLB All Star game.
Excerpts from ESPN’s article:
“Do I still think I’m worthy or not? Personally, I voted for Peavy,” Darvish said through a team translator.
Peavy had been supported by an aggressive marketing campaign by the White Sox.
“It just wasn’t meant to be,” Peavy said. “Obviously, we knew it’s hard to outvote a country.”
Japanese players have fared well in the All-Star Final Vote, with Hideki Matsui of the Yankees winning in 2004 and Hideki Okajima of the Red Sox winning three years later.
Were votes from Japan really that influential? Perhaps. But interestingly, Sankei news says vote from Japan accounted only 4% of Darvish total vote. I couldn’t find English report, so here is my quick translation, but according to numbers that sankei news received from MLB, of the 7.3 million votes that Yu Darvish received, about 300,000 were from Japan. So 7 million votes were from within U.S., “he had a strong support from state of Texas,” a person from MLB were quoted as saying in the article. Certainly, the votes from Japan doesn’t hurt, but that may not be the only reason that he was selected as All Star. Darvish, in the first half of the season, has posted a 10-5 record with a 3.59 ERA in 16 starts, and has 117 strikeouts in 102 2/3 innings. Interestingly, he is the only second starting pitcher to be named to the All Star game. The other is Hideo Nomo in 1995. 4 other pitchers on the list, Sasaki, Hasegawa, Saito and Okajima, are all relief role, and Ichiro, Matsui and Fukudome are the three position players.
List of 9 Japanese players that made MLB All Star team
- Hideo Nomo (Los Angeles Dodgers): 1995
- Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners): 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
- Kazuhiro Sasaki (Seattle Mariners): 2001, 2002
- Hideki Matsui (New York Yankees): 2003, 2004
- Shigetoshi Hasegawa (Seattle Mariners): 2003
- Takashi Saito (Los Angeles Dodgers): 2007
- Hideki Okajima (Boston Red Sox): 2007
- Kosuke Fukudome (Chicago Cubs): 2008
- Yu Darvish (Texas Rangers): 2009