07/06/2003 8:37 PM ET
Jenkins still has All-Star shot
Cast your ballot in the etopps All-Star Final Vote
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
AL All-Star roster
NL All-Star roster
MILWAUKEE -- What would it mean to Geoff Jenkins if fans vote him to the National League All-Star team?
"It would mean everything," said Jenkins, who has battled back from two years of injuries to anchor the Brewers offense along with Richie Sexson.
Sexson was named the Brewers' All-Star when 31 members of the 32-man National League squad were announced Sunday night, but Jenkins still has a chance thanks to the etopps All-Star Final Vote.
"He deserves it more than anybody on this team," Sexson said. "He's had a heck of a half, and with everything he's been through in the last year with his leg, I really wanted him to make it. ... I'm going to call every person I know to jump on that Internet and throw a couple of votes in there."
Five players in each league not elected to the All-Star Game were nominated by 2003 All-Star Game managers Dusty Baker and Mike Scioscia, in conjunction with Major League Baseball. Fans now have three days to select the final player on each league's roster.
Fans can vote and can select one player for each league. The etopps All-Star Final Vote ends on Wednesday, July 9, at 6 p.m. ET. Winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Jenkins is up against Montreal's Orlando Cabrera, Florida's Luis Castillo, Pittsburgh's Kenny Lofton and San Francisco's Benito Santiago.
"It's like one of those things you don't even want to talk about," Jenkins said of making the All-Star Game. "To me, this season was all about getting off to a good start and getting back on track."
Even if Jenkins does not win the etopps Final Vote, he is making quite a case for the Comeback Player of the Year Award. He was attempting to come back from an injury-riddled 2001 season when, last June 17, he slid quickly back to third base in a game against the Astros and dislocated his right ankle and tore every ligament around the joint, abruptly ending his season. So he rehabbed, again, and made a comeback, again, only to suffer a right wrist injury diving for a ball early in Spring Training.
Jenkins missed the first week of the 2003 season but has sat out only one game since, when the Brewers faced the Marlins and lefty Dontrelle Willis at Miller Park. He entered Sunday's game batting .286 with 20 homers and a team-best 66 RBIs, and added a sacrifice fly in the third inning.
Brewers manager Ned Yost said having a healthy Jenkins during the first half was like signing a big-name free agent during the off-season.
"He battled to get himself ready to play without missing a beat," Yost said. "[His success] is a testament to how hard he worked to get ready."
His friend Sexson has been pulling for him, too.
"I sure would like to go to the All-Star Game," Sexson said last week, "but I'd be just as happy watching him go."
Jenkins' Brewers career began with such promise before injuries made the last two seasons a personal nightmare. He was drafted by Milwaukee in the first round in 1995 and broke into the big leagues in 1998.
Jenkins won over a lot of fans very early, partly because he was the spitting image of Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, the state's most popular athlete. Jenkins stated his own case by homering in his first Major League game, on April 24, 1998, at San Francisco, and by hitting four home runs in his first 21 at-bats.
Jenkins played in a career-high 135 games in 1999 and 2000 and took off. He hit .313 with 21 homers and 82 RBIs in 1999, then followed it up by hitting .303 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and 100 runs scored in 2000. Thumb and shoulder injuries ruined his 2001 season, and his 2002 ended in a heap at third base in that game against Houston.
Now, for the first time in more than two years, Jenkins is raking again.
"You always envision better and better, but this has been going pretty well," he said. "It was tough. Those were really tough injuries."
Now it's up to the fans to support Jenkins, who not only has the skills of an All-Star -- he has the heart of one, too.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.