7/1 Congrats to LaHair

Bryan LaHair toiled for nine seasons in the Minor Leagues, getting a brief taste of big league baseball in ’08 with the Mariners. He led the Pacific Coast League with 38 home runs last year, and made the Cubs’ Opening Day roster this season for the first time. And now, he’s an All-Star. LaHair can thank his peers — he was voted in on the players’ ballot. Some may argue he’s not deserving but how can you not root for a guy like this?

“I think he was pretty emotional about it,” said Dale Sveum, who got to tell LaHair the news. “It kind of caught him off guard a little bit. That was one of those times as a manager, a special time, when you can tell a kid who’s 30 years old that he’s making an All-Star team after spending so much time in the Minor Leagues. It’s one of those special stories. That’s what we live for in this game is one of those special moments.”

LaHair, who actually turns 30 in November, had said he was humbled just to be on the ballot.

“It gives you chills,” he said. “You get a chance to quickly reflect, and I’m sure I’ll reflect more later on, but you think about all the work you put in and the adversity you’ve been through and the different adventures you’ve had along the way to get your first opportunity in the big leagues and now an All-Star Game is just incredible.”

Those adventures include playing in Venezuela in the offseason to work on his swing. He may no longer be the Cubs starting first baseman, but he’ll represent the team in Kansas City on July 10 along with Starlin Castro.

Could he even imagine this?

“It was a dream as a little boy to be an All-Star, but to think it would happen this fast or if at all — it’s really tough to get into that game,” he said. “It’s not something I play for — I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I’m thankful the players voted me in. I’m extremely thankful for that.”

— Carrie Muskat


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