by Ted Cox
Boosted by the high attendance in Texas, the Rangers' Josh Hamilton leads all players with about 2.6 million votes in initial ballot figures released this week.
No surprise there. Hamilton is fresh from hitting four homers in a game and leads all of baseball in homers and runs batted in.
Yet, as of right now, one person stands between Hamilton and the Triple Crown: Paul Konerko of the White Sox leads the American League in batting average, at .366 to Hamilton's .345.
That isn't going to last, as Konerko is still waiting to pad his batting average with his first career infield hit. Yet it's about time Konerko was recognized for being the amazing student of hitting he is. He's batted .300 both of the last two seasons, while continuing to put up more than 30 homers and 100 RBI.
Yet does Chicago's most beloved lunch-bucket grinder of a baseball player get the love elsewhere? No. Those initial ballot figures found him running third at first base, behind the New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira in second, with the Detroit Tigers' Prince Fielder out in front—by more than 300,000 votes.
Fielder gets all the love in Detroit for following in the footsteps of his father as a Tigers legacy after signing there as a free agent this year. Yet I've said it before and I'll say it again: Adam Dunn will hit more homers than Fielder this year.
So get with it, Sox fans. Vote early and often, in the true Chicago manner. You can vote 25 times from the same e-mail address online, but better yet is actually to go to a game, grab a stack of ballots, and punch them all out at once. (A stack of five is fairly manageable with a decent pen or pencil; ten or more might require an ice pick.)
While you're at it, vote for A.J. Pierzynski as catcher, where he's running fifth even though he's having a career year while others are middling along. The Rangers' Mike Napoli, along with Hamilton one of five Texans benefiting from their high attendance and voting figures to lead at their positions, came into the week hitting .252 with nine homers and 27 RBI. A.J., meanwhile, leads all big-league catchers with 37 RBI and is second with a .534 slugging percentage and tied for second with ten home runs. He's also hitting .303 and is on pace to set career highs in home runs (29), RBI (107), and slugging percentage.
That pace is not going to last either, but wouldn't it be worth it to annoy everyone else in baseball by voting him starting catcher?