CHICAGO -- With the deadline for All-Star voting approaching, the Chicago Cubs are nearing a historic moment as all four of their starting infielders continue to lead voting at their respective positions.
If Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo are voted in as National League starters, it would be just the second time in baseball history that four infielders from the same team started the Midsummer Classic.
"I'm happy for our guys," manager Joe Maddon said after the latest round of voting was released on Wednesday. "I think it's great. It's great for the organization."
Of the four infielders, Russell has the slimmest lead, but he's still 379,996 votes ahead of his closest competitor,Colorado Rockiesshortstop Trevor Story. Rizzo leads all players with 2,202,494 votes, which is 1,363,306 more than the second-place first baseman, Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants.
Not since the 1963 Cardinals has a team started its entire infield in the All-Star Game.
"It will elevate their game," Maddon said. "I believe that."
Maddon also said it should be a proud day for those that scouted and developed those players. In addition to the infielders leading at their positions, injured centerfielder Dexter Fowler (right hamstring) leads all NL outfielders with over 2 million votes while Jason Heyward is a distant fourth. The top three vote-getters get to start in the All-Star Game, regardless of position. Fowler is hopeful that his absence from the lineup won't affect his All-Star status because he's eligible to come off the disabled list on July 4, about a week before the game.
"They [trainers] said I'll be 100 percent healthy when I get back," Fowler said. "It's not a high [injury], so it should not be reoccurring."
As for Cubs pitchers, Maddon made a case for all his starters plus closer Hector Rondon. Realistically, the Cubs are likely to send two hurlers to San Diego for the July 12 game, with Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester their best bets.
"There's an argument for every one of them," Maddon said. "I'd say, for sure, two."
A write-in campaign to get retiring catcher David Ross to the game hasn't taken off. He leads all NL players in write-in votes but hasn't cracked the top five among catchers. Miguel Montero ranks fourth. Any All-Stars among the Cubs' pitching staff and outfield will be a secondary storyline if the Cubs send their entire infield.
"You would have to believe the ratings will be up in Chicago on that particular night," Maddon said. "I know I'll be watching."