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Griffey was the leading All-Star vote-getter for the

By Ronald BlumAssociated Press Published: July 1, 1998 12:00 AM

Griffey was the leading All-Star vote-getter for the third straight year and fourth time overall, earning a starting spot in the AL outfield in results released Tuesday.

"I don't take anything for granted. I always make other plans. I don't take it for granted until they give it to me," Griffey said before Tuesday night's game against Colorado.

This marked the ninth straight time Griffey was elected to start. He'll be in the lineup next Tuesday for the game in Denver.

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The Seattle star hit his 33rd home run, tying him for second with Sammy Sosa behind Mark McGwire's 37, against the Rockies.

Griffey got 4,202,830 votes, well ahead of Baltimore third baseman Cal Ripken, second with 3,402,657. Griffey's total also topped McGwire, the NL leader with 3,377,145 in figures released Monday.

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The New York Yankees did not have a single player elected to start despite the best record in the majors. They were sure to have at least a couple picked today when the reserves and pitchers for both leagues are announced.

While Griffey intends to play in the game, he has said he doesn't intend to participate in the home run derby during Monday's All-Star workout.

"I gave my answer more than a month ago," Griffey said.

Ripken was elected to play in his 16th consecutive All-Star game, all of them as a starter.

"It's obviously an honor, a thrill," he said. "I feel a real sense of responsibility to go to the game."

Ripken was elected despite a subpar first half. He is hitting just .261 with seven homers and 35 RBIs.

"I'm sure I'm one of the guys this year where some doubt will exist, but to put it in simple perspective: it's the fans' game," Ripken said. "In a lot of ways, this has become a popularity contest. Any system has holes in it, but for the most part this is a good system."

The rest of the AL starting lineup has Cleveland's Jim Thome (1,193,823) at first, Baltimore's Roberto Alomar (1,834,970) at second, Seattle's Alex Rodriguez (2,571,985) at shortstop, Texas' Ivan Rodriguez (3,012,549) at catcher and Juan Gonzalez of the Rangers (1,900,735) and Kenny Lofton of the Indians (1,467,423) joining Griffey in the outfield.

"Considering the talent at the position in the American League, including my good buddy Derek Jeter, it's a thrill," Alex Rodriguez said.

"Teams in first place usually get the guys there," he said. "I think a majority of my votes came from the kids."

Ivan Rodriguez will make his seventh straight All-Star appearance. Gonzalez, an All-Star for just the second time, has 96 RBIs and is on pace to finish two ahead of Hack Wilson's record of 190, set in 1930.

The closest competition was at second base, where Alomar finished 184,000 ahead of the Yankees' Chuck Knoblauch (1,650,428), At first base, Thome beat New York's Tino Martinez (993,944) by nearly 200,000 votes.

Ripken had the largest victory margin, finishing with more than four times the total of Cleveland's Travis Fryman (843,642).

NL starters were announced Monday, with McGwire at first, Houston's Craig Biggio at second, Colorado's Walt Weiss at shortstop, Atlanta's Chipper Jones at third and the New York Mets' Mike Piazza at catcher.

Larry Walker of the Colorado Rockies, Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres and Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants were elected to start in the NL outfield.

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