MILWAUKEE — When Wally Joyner learned that he had become the first rookie ever selected by the fans as a starter in the All-Star game, he found the message a tad confusing.
Luckily for him, Reggie Jackson, who is to All-Star games what Miss Manners is to weddings, was sitting nearby.
Angel Manager Gene Mauch gave Joyner the word in the second inning of the Angels' 6-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday--in somewhat cryptic fashion.
"I came off the field, and Gene went up to me," Joyner said. "He said, 'They called me.' I said, 'Oh, they called you. Who called you?' I didn't understand."
Jackson did. He has been called before. He's familiar with the language.
"The All-Star game," Jackson said, interceding as an interpreter. "You made it."
Then, Joyner understood.
By outpolling the New York Yankees' Don Mattingly by more than 130,000 votes, Joyner was named the American League's starting first baseman for next Tuesday's All-Star game at Houston. Since the adoption of the fans' voting system in 1970, no position player had ever made the All-Star starting lineup in his first season.
Rookie pitchers Mark Fidrych of Detroit and Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers started the 1976 and 1981 games, respectively, but they were chosen by All-Star managers. The last non-pitcher to start an All-Star game as a rookie was Rod Carew, who was a second baseman with the Minnesota Twins in 1967. Carew was the man Joyner replaced as the Angels' first baseman this year.
"Kinda ironic," Joyner noted.
There's a catch to the precedence of Joyner's selection. Before 1986, no rookies had been listed on the All-Star ballots. But this year, the expanded ballots included the names of 10 first-year players, including Joyner, Oakland's Jose Canseco, Texas' Pete Incaviglia and Seattle's Danny Tartabull.
Joyner was one of two first-time All-Stars named to the American League's starting lineup. With a late rush of votes, Minnesota's Kirby Puckett, the major leagues' leader in hits, edged the Angels' Jackson for the third outfield position. Puckett received 736,328 to Jackson's 719,139.
The rest of the AL lineup is a duplicate of last year's: Detroit's Lance Parrish at catcher, Detroit's Lou Whitaker at second base, Kansas City's George Brett at third base, Baltimore's Cal Ripken at shortstop and the Yankees' Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield in the outfield.
Ripken led all AL vote-getters with 1,486,806. Brett was next with 1,257,432--and he needed them to beat out Boston's Wade Boggs, the majors' top hitter, who earned 1,172,529 votes.
The voting at first base was also heated, with several Yankee players, upset over Mattingly's second-place standing behind Joyner, accusing Angel fans of stuffing the ballot box and calling the election a popularity contest.
"I heard about it," Joyner said. "But there are a lot of people in New York and a lot of people in California. I don't think all 980,000 votes came from people in Southern California."
Joyner was asked to explain his popularity.
"The fans just like me," he said. "It was a little bit of everything. I got a lot of press, a lot of ink, early in the season. For a couple of weeks, I might have been the talk of baseball. People remembered my name."
Joyner attracted much national attention when he hit 15 home runs in the season's first 36 games. The nickname "Wally World" became a baseball catch phrase during April and May.
Joyner, who has started every game for the Angels, is batting .303 with 20 home runs and 67 runs batted in. He had three singles Wednesday, giving him 32 multiple-hit games this year.
He becomes the 15th rookie to start in an All-Star game. The New York Yankees' Joe DiMaggio, in 1936, was the first, followed by Detroit's Dick Wakefield (1943), the Philadelphia Phillies' Richie Ashburn (1948), the St. Louis Cardinals' Ed Kazak (1949), the Boston Red Sox's Walt Dropo (1950), Baltimore's Ron Hansen (1960), Minnesota's Rich Rollins and Dave Stenhouse (1962), the Yankees' Tom Tresh (1962), Minnesota's Tony Oliva (1964), Boston's George Scott (1966), Carew, Fidrych and Valenzuela.
ROOKIE STARTERS IN ALL-STAR GAMES
Year Name Team Pos 1936 Joe DiMaggio Yankees OF 1943 Dick Wakefield Tigers OF 1948 Richie Ashburn Phillies OF 1949 Ed Kazak Cardinals 3B 1950 Walt Dropo Red Sox 1B 1960* Ron Hansen Orioles SS 1962* Rich Rollins Twins 3B 1962** Dave Stenhouse Senators P 1962** Tom Tresh Yankees SS 1964 Tony Oliva Twins OF 1966 George Scott Red Sox 1B 1967 Rod Carew Twins 2B 1976 Mark Fidrych Tigers P 1981 Fernando Valenzuela Dodgers P 1986 Wally Joyner Angels 1B
* --Both games. **--Second game only.