Bryce Harper came from behind to win the vote for the final starting outfield spot in the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York on Tuesday, July 16. Only 20 years old, the popular Harper will be the youngest-ever National League starter in the history of the game. He’ll also be the first to make the game twice as a National.
Only three younger players, all from the American League, have started an All-Star Game.
According to the Washington Post, Harper was down by 15,000 votes on Tuesday afternoon behind Braves left fielder Justin Upton.
Harper had only returned from the disabled list for left knee bursitis on Monday. He hit a first-inning home run that day but otherwise fell into an 0-for-4 slump which caused manager Davey Johnson to say that he would rest Harper.
“He’s just grinding too hard,” Johnson had said on Friday.
But Bryce Harper had other plans. He texted Johnson back, “Play me or trade me.”
“Since trading’s out of the question I guess I’m going to play him,” Johnson replied.
WaPo called the text message tongue-in-cheek, but Fox Sports reported that Bryce Harper said he was “pretty serious” about the message:
“You know I want to play. I want to play every day and if he wants to put me in the lineup then I want to be in the lineup. And if he doesn’t then I’m going to try and make him put me in the lineup.
“It’s something that I want to do every day and I’m going to grind through everything I do and play as hard as I can and good things happen.”
Talking his way into Saturday’s game game was ultimately a good choice for Harper.
He drove in three runs Saturday and no longer seemed bothered by the knee, which he said wouldn’t stop him from appearing in the All-Star Game.
He’s hitting.263/.365/.544 with 13 home runs even with the previous time off for the injury.
The current All-Star Game lineup including Bryce Harper is listed here, although injured players are subject to being replaced.