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Washington Nationals' First Homegrown All-Star: Ryan Zimmerman, The Nats' '09 Rep.

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Ryan Zimmerman finished fourth in the All-Star voting in 2009, behind the Mets' David Wright, the Brewers' Bill Hall and the Braves' Chipper Jones, in spite of the fact that the Nats' then-24-year-old '05 1st Round pick was in the midst of what was then his best year at the major league level in the fifth season after he'd been drafted by and debuted with Washington in 2005. In addition to a headline-grabbing 30-game hit streak that stretched from April 8 to May 13th, Ryan Zimmerman had a .288/.354/.473 slash line with 22 doubles and 14 HR's in the first-half of 2009. But it wasn't enough to get Zimmerman voted on to the NL All-Star Roster...

"I don’t ever focus or place importance on personal achievements on the baseball field," Zimmerman said, when I asked him in a 2009 email interview what he thought about the sort of individual recognition that came with All-Star nominations and post season awards. "I play this great game of baseball to win," Zimmerman responded, "and to have my teammates and fans respect me for playing as hard as I possibly can day in and day out, 162 games hopefully more) a season. Sure, the hitting streak, and accomplishments like a Gold Glove or All-Star appearance are tremendous honors and ones I would cherish. They’re also indicators that my teammates have been productive and done well also."

It was his peers and not the fans who placed Zimmerman on the NL All-Star roster in 2009, which pleased the Face of the Nats' Franchise, who told MLB.com's Bill Ladson in an article entitled, "Zimmerman named to NL All-Star team", that, "The fans mean everything to this game, but to get voted in from the people you play against day in and day out, you want them to have that utmost respect for you."

Zimmerman entered his first All-Star Game as a defensive replacement in the 5th inning of the July 14th, 2009 Mid-Summer Classic, and he got his first ASG AB in the bottom of the frame against then-Rays' right-hander Edwin Jackson, flying out to center on an 0-1 curve. The only ball hit to Zimmerman that night was a line drive by Twins' first baseman Justin Morneau that the future Gold Glove winner handled expertly. The Nats' third baseman's second at bat came in the eighth and lasted one pitch. A fly to right on a slider from Minnesota's Joe Nathan ended Zimmerman's night at the plate leaving him 0 for 2 in his All-Star debut. 

Zimmerman hasn't been back to the All-Star Game since. He finished the 2009 season with a .292/.364/.525 slash, 37 doubles and a career-high 33 HR's, claiming the '09 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. In '09 though, he earned a unique distinction as the first and so far only Washington Nationals' Draft pick to make an All-Star appearance. Chad Cordero was an Expos' draft pick and the five other Nats to appear in the Mid-Summer Classic were free agents. In 2009, Zim became the first real Nationals' All-Star, no offense Livan.