Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ozzie Won't Start, but He's Glad to Depart

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ozzie Won't Start, but He's Glad to Depart

Article excerpt

Ozzie Smith surprisingly went from 29th player on the National League All-Star team, an ambassador-type position, to one of the 28 playing members of the squad when Atlanta manager Bobby Cox announced his selections Tuesday night.

Last week, Cox said he hoped that Smith, 41, would be involved in all the ceremonies Tuesday in Philadelphia as a testament to his career but didn't want to play him. But Cardinals President Mark Lamping talked to both league President Leonard Coleman and to interim commissioner Bud Selig after that, and Coleman was reported to have told Cox that he thought it would be best to have the 13-time Gold Glover on the squad.

Lamping said, "We suggested to Len and Bud that we thought it would be great to have Ozzie on the team rather than in a non-playing role but that we didn't want it to be at the expense of anybody else."

Montreal's young shortstop, Mark Grudzielanek, wasn't affected. Grudzielanek will join Cincinnati's Barry Larkin and Smith as shortstops on the team. But Smith will be the only Cardinals representative on the club, meaning that John Mabry, Donovan Osborne, Ray Lankford and, notably, Tom Pagnozzi will not be on the team.

Cox had been leaning toward Pagnozzi as his third catcher but went with Pittsburgh rookie Jason Kendall, making him that club's only representative.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he was disappointed in the selections, but only in that "my favorite players are the St. Louis Cardinals. You'd like to see John (Mabry) joined by several players. But I definitely could understand the way Bobby went and would agree with it."

In Smith's particular case, La Russa graciously said, "I think Ozzie can help them win a game. Fifteen All-Star games. That's fantastic."

Smith, who was voted to the squad last year but couldn't play because of having had shoulder surgery, has a .154 average (four for 26) in 13 previous All-Star appearances, discounting last year. …

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