Former University of South Carolina baseball star Justin Smoak has been chosen as the American League (AL)’s starting first baseman in this month’s major league baseball All-Star game – scheduled for July 11 at Marlins Park in Miami.
Smoak received 2,566,181 fan votes (since 2002, major league baseball has allowed fans to choose the All-Star starters).
After middling through his first few seasons in the majors, Smoak is in the midst of a career year – hitting .303 with 22 home runs and 52 runs batted in (RBIs) through his first eighty games with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Prior to this season, Smoak’s highest batting average was .239 – and he’d never hit more than 20 home runs in a full season.[timed-content-server show=”2017-Jun-25 00:00:00 -0000″ hide=”2017-Jul-10 00:00:00 -0000″]
A native of Goose Creek, Smoak played baseball for former Gamecocks’ head coach (now athletics director) Ray Tanner from 2006-2008 and remains the school’s all-time career leader with 62 career home runs.
Selected by the Texas Rangers with the eleventh pick of the first round, Smoak played half a season with the Rangers in 2010 before being traded to the Seattle Mariners. In 2015, he was picked up by the Blue Jays.
Smoak is the second former Gamecock to be named to the All-Star game in as many seasons – following Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who made the team last year.
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