Knoxville native and former Tennessee All-America Todd Helton will make his second consecutive start for the National League Tuesday in Major League Baseball's 73th annual All-Star Game in Milwaukee.
Helton's .346 average ranks second to teammate Larry Walker (.350) in the National League in hitting. He also ranks in the top-5 in the NL in RBis (63, fifth place) and total bases (187, third place). Tuesday's game will be Helton's third All-Star game appearance.
"I'm very excited about going," Helton told mlb.com. "I'm still going to be nervous when I walk in the clubhouse. But to be voted in with all the players that are out there, all the names that will be at the game, I'm really looking forward to it.
"It (usually) takes a few years. I've gotten lucky that McGwire retired - that helped me out a little bit. And I usually struggle the first half anyway, but I at least came out and had a halfway decent first half."
Helton outlasted Houston's Jeff Bagwell in the NL voting at first base. Helton received 1,161,376 votes, while Bagwell got 831,403.
Helton was a two-time All-America at Tennessee and was college baseball's player of the year in 1995, leading the Vols to a third-place finish at the College World Series. He was a first round draft choice of the Rockies in 1995.
Gridiron Vols ranked high in preseason polls
If the preseason college football magazines are correct, Tennessee fans should have plenty to cheer about.
Tennessee, which finished last season with an 11-2 mark and a No. 4 national ranking after its thrashing of Michigan in the Citrus Bowl, is a solid Top 10 pick by most major publications, including two, Blue Ribbon and Phil Steele, that have picked Phillip Fulmer's Vols at the nation's No. 1 team.
A composite ranking of six major publications, The Sporting News, Street & Smith's, Football Action, Athlon Sports, Lindy's and Phil Steele, have Tennessee ranked No. 5 nationally.
Texas edged Oklahoma by one point in the composite poll for the No. 1 spot, and the Longhorns were picked No. 1 by one of the six magazines surveyed. Three chose the Sooners to win the national title, one chose Florida State and another (Phil Steele) picked Tennessee.
The composite poll also handicapped the Southeastern Conference, with the magazines picking a rematch of Tennessee and LSU in the SEC title game.
In Blue Ribbon College Football Forecast, available at most major bookstores later this month, the Vols edged Oklahoma for the No. 1 spot, followed by Florida State, Texas and defending champion Miami.
The Vols play host to the Hurricanes Nov. 9.