By BRUCE LOWITT
© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 5, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- Greg Vaughn was planning to spend the All-Star break with Michele and the kids in Elk Grove, Calif., their suburban Sacramento home. He'll detour to meet them, and a pair of future Hall of Famers, in Seattle.
"I was going west. Now I'm just going a little bit farther northwest. It's not too big of an adjustment I have to make. I'll just pass by my house," Vaughn, the Rays leftfielder and sometime designated hitter, said Wednesday after riding a hot June onto the American League roster for Tuesday's All-Star Game at Safeco Field.
"I can tell my grandkids I played in the last All-Star Game when Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn were there," he said. "I'll talk especially to Tony. He was always my security blanket (in San Diego) when things weren't right at the plate. I'll ask him a thousand questions and tape it so when I'm having problems I can go listen to it."
It is Vaughn's fourth All-Star Game, first since 1998, when he (and Gwynn) represented the Padres in the National League. He is 2-for-2 with singles in 1993 with the Brewers (then an AL team) and '98. He didn't play as a Brewer in '96, a victim of food poisoning.
Vaughn is batting .249 with team highs of 20 home runs and 57 RBI. He hit .278 in June and tied ex-Ray Gerald Williams' team record with 27 RBI, fourth most in the AL for the month.
Vaughn, whose contract awards him a $25,000 bonus for making the All-Star team, may have benefited from a logjam of AL first basemen that might have cost teammate Fred McGriff (.321, 14 home runs, 48 RBI) a sixth trip to the All-Star Game and a $50,000 bonus. McGriff represented the Rays last year at Atlanta.
"(Vaughn) deserved it. I'm happy that he made it," manager Hal McRae said. "Freddie was deserving, too."
Vaughn said McGriff "probably deserved it. ... He had an outstanding first half. I just happen to be the guy that got chosen."
Said McGriff, who has not played first base since June 21 and is nursing a sore left hamstring: "Vaughnie's had a great first half. It's cool. Personally, I know I need some time off to get some rest, get myself healthy. We've got three more months of baseball."
Joe Torre, AL All-Star manager by virtue of being manager of the World Series champion Yankees, picked seven of his players for the game. No problem, Vaughn said.
"Your team wins, your manager takes who he wants to take. That's part of the reward of winning." Vaughn said. "If the Devil Rays win the World Series, Hal can take whoever he wants to take."