NL teammates happy for LaHair

July, 9, 2012
7/09/12
8:20
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The rags-to-riches story of a ball player who spends a lifetime in the minors and other obscure baseball outposts before making it to the major leagues has already been the subject of numerous books and movies. The Chicago Cubs have their own in-the-flesh version of fictional player Roy Hobbs in Bryan LaHair.

The 29-year-old first baseman-outfielder made his first All-Star team only three months after securing an opening day job in the major leagues for the first time in 10 professional seasons.

[+] EnlargeBryan LaHair
H. Darr Beiser/US PresswireBryan LaHair is on the NL All-Star team in his first full year as a big leaguer.
The National League teammates who greeted LaHair in Kansas City love that he was able to overcome scouting reports and down seasons to join the elite at the 83rd All-Star Game.

“That is an extremely impressive thing to do, to have perseverance like that,” 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun said. “This is a really difficult game that we play, with a lot of adversity and a lot of failure. For Bryan to continue to fight like that and continue to work through countless minor league seasons had to be extremely frustrating. It is great to see him succeed the way he has and deservedly become an All-Star. His story is pretty special.”

LaHair will definitely get a chance to play in the Midsummer classic and his NL teammates are eager to see it.

“I always heard Bryan LaHair’s name coming through the minor leagues myself,” 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto said. “He always put up consistent numbers and now to have received a chance from the Cubs, which is a difficult market to break into, is very impressive. Most guys get the cup of coffee in the majors and then get sent back. Bryan seized the moment and has done great, culminating with his All Star selection.

“I hope he has a long and great career.”

Votto’s Reds teammate and fellow All-Star Jay Bruce is also a fan.

“It took all those years for him to get to the big leagues, so to finally have success here and now share this All-Star experience with the best players in the game is something he will never forget,” Bruce said. “He definitely earned it and I am very excited for him because he was able to mentally stay strong and above negative reviews. This is something both he and Chicago Cub fans should be proud of.”

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.292 14 65 58
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 31
RBIA. Rizzo 72
RA. Rizzo 83
OPSA. Rizzo .895
WJ. Arrieta 9
ERAT. Wood 4.86
SOJ. Arrieta 157