(Information comes courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service)
WASHINGTON - Voting for this year's Major League Baseball All-Star team has closed. But "votes"-a.k.a. Stamps Batted In (SBI) for the four legends who collectively appeared in nearly 50 All-Star games-have exceeded one million in the Major League Baseball All-Stars Forever stamps pre-stamp dedication pennant race.
Leading by a close margin is Boston Red Sox Ted Williams, hitting 300,385 SBI, followed by New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio at 290,925. There's still time for fans of Pittsburgh Pirate Willie Stargell with 237,785 SBI and Cleveland Indian Larry Doby hitting 232,745 to catch up before the July 21-22 official dedication ceremonies. Fans can still pump up the SBI by visiting www.usps.com/play-ball.
"Baseball fans have stepped up to the plate to vote for their favorite All-Star in this year's mid-summer classic," said Stamp Services Manager Stephen Kearney. "We encourage them to do the same by hitting more SBIs for these legendary All-Stars that will be immortalized on Forever stamps."
Kearney said that individual player stamp sheets will be sold only in limited quantities beginning July 21 at select Post Offices in Boston, MA; Cleveland, OH; Cooperstown, NY; New York, NY, and Pittsburgh, PA. To ensure customers obtain all the individual player sheets and related philatelic products, he recommended ordering them between now and Aug. 31.
All Four Players, Cooperstown, NY
• July 20, 10 a.m., National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The dedication ceremony for the sheet of stamps featuring all four players takes place as part of opening day festivities for the 4-day Hall of Fame Weekend celebration. Scheduled participants include Hall of Famer/San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn; Hall of Famer/Pittsburgh Pirates/Chicago Cubs/Cleveland Indians Ralph Kiner; Willie Stargell's wife Margaret Weller-Stargell; Larry Doby, Jr.; Ted Williams' daughter Claudia Williams; Joe DiMaggio's granddaughter Kathie Stein; Hall of Fame Board Chairman Jane Forbes Clark; U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors member Louis Guiliano; and, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. Major League Baseball Network Host Brian Kenny is scheduled to be master of ceremonies. Available nationwide that day, the stamps can also be purchased at the Museum and at the Cooperstown Post Office.
Larry Doby, Cleveland, OH
• July 21 at 10 a.m., Jerry Maloy Negro League Conference at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, 24 Public Square, near Progressive Field, home of the Indians.
Joe DiMaggio, Bronx, NY
• July 21 at 11 a.m., Bronx Post Office, 558 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451. In conjunction with the festivities Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz will proclaim this historical recognition of a sports icon as "Joe DiMaggio Day!" Scheduled guests include DiMaggio family members and Pulitzer award winning sports writer, Dave Anderson.
Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh, PA
• July 21 between 6:30 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. at PNC Park in Pittsburgh before the 7:05 p.m. Pirates/Marlins game for the sheet of stamps honoring Willie Stargell. Scheduled to join Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in dedicating the stamp are Stargell's wife, Margaret Weller-Stargell; Pittsburgh Pirates Board Chairman Robert Nutting; and Pirates President Frank Coonelly.
Ted Williams, Boston, MA
• July 21 at 11:45 a.m. in Boston's Fenway Park prior to the 1:35 p.m. Red Sox/Blue Jays game. Dedication of the sheet of stamps honoring Ted Williams. Boston Postmaster James Holland will unveil the stamp image on the field. Ted Williams Little League players will also be on the field with the Navy Honor Guard.
Responding to overwhelming demand following the May 13 "Opening Day" announcement to honor the four players collectively on a single sheet of 20 Forever stamps, the Postal Service announced on May 31 it will issue sheets of 20 stamps honoring each player individually.
Customers may preorder the stamps and collectible products today by visiting this link: www.usps.com/play-ball, or by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724).