Wilson Voted National League All-Star team

Jack Wilson was summoned to the manager's office three hours before game time July 4. <br><br>The Pirates shortstop entered with some trepidation. Wilson's visits with Lloyd McClendon haven't always been so great during his four seasons in the major leagues. <br><br>"I hesitated, but this visit was a more pleasant one than most of the others," Wilson said......Indeed.

McClendon informed Wilson that he had been voted to the National League All-Star team as a reserve. Wilson will make his first All-Star Game appearance and is the first Pirates shortstop selected to a midsummer classic since Jay Bell in 1993.

"It's awesome," Wilson said. "I've really thought about it a lot the past couple of weeks, ever since my family started calling and bugging me, telling me every other shortstop's batting average in the National League. It's a great feeling, though. I hoped this would happen, and I didn't want to do anything in the last week or so to jinx it."

Wilson is hitting .339 with eight homers, 34 RBIs and a league-leading 111 hits in 77 games. That is quite a turnaround for a player who carried a .246 lifetime batting average into this season.

Wilson is the Pirates' lone representative, though catcher Jason Kendall has a chance to win the 32nd and final spot on the NL squad through internet fan balloting. Kendall is one of five candidates along with Philadelphia right fielder Bobby Abreu, Arizona center fielder Steve Finley, Florida center fielder Juan Pierre and Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez.

Kendall is hitting .311 with two homers and 30 RBIs in 72 games. He has played in three All-Star Games but none since 2000, the last time the Pirates had two players selected.

"I think it's awesome that I might make it," Kendall said. "First and foremost, though, I'm happy for Jack. It's a well-deserved honor for him."

St. Louis' Edgar Renteria will be the NL's starting shortstop after winning the fan voting. Wilson, though, outpolled Renteria in the player voting, 395-225, to earn his reserve spot.

"To be selected by my peers means a lot to me," Wilson said. "I'm really kind of speechless about that. I'm flattered to get that kind of recognition from guys around the league."

Wilson finished fifth in the fan balloting with 691,565 votes, less than a third of Renteria's total of 2,028,840. Houston's Adam Everett, the New York Mets' Kazuo Matsui and Cincinnati's Barry Larkin also finished ahead of Wilson.

Wilson admitted to having trouble sleeping during the last week as he anticipated the announcement of the teams. However, he planned to rest very well Sunday night in at the team hotel in Hollywood, Fla., as the Pirates got ready to open a three-game series against the Florida Marlins on Monday night.

"I'll sleep fine," Wilson said. "I might have a little bit of trouble sleeping again by the weekend, though, because I'll be pretty excited about actually getting to Houston for the game."

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