Utley aiming to match Phils All-Star mark
Would join Hall of Famer Schmidt with four straight starts
PHILADELPHIA -- Chase Utley is looking to become the first Phillies player to start four consecutive All-Star Games for the National League since Mike Schmidt in 1981-84.
Utley, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter are the only players to have started each of the previous three All-Star Games.
Ballots for the 80th All-Star Game on July 14 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis were announced Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world then will select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.
Fans also will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
No NL second baseman has started four All-Star Games in a row since Craig Biggio from 1995-98.
"He works hard," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Utley. "He stays after it. He loves to play and he's determined. His determination is off the chart. He puts everything he's got into it."
No NL second baseman has started five or more consecutive All-Star Games since Ryne Sandberg started eight consecutive games from 1986-93.
"Chase is a true professional," teammate Raul Ibanez said. "He's amazing. His work habits are something to admire. Watching him every day is inspiring. He wants to be the best and he strives for it."
The last NL player to start four consecutive All-Star Games at any position is Mike Piazza, who started at catcher from 1994-99.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.