Canadian boy all class

BOB ELLIOTT

, Last Updated: 1:17 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO -- Here's another reason why Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, a native of Montreal, is special.

Martin yesterday sent this e-mail to staff at Dodger Stadium: "I'm here in San Francisco and wanted to take a minute to thank all of you for taking the time and hard work to help get me here. I know how hard you all worked to make things happen and make my dreams come true. It couldn't have happened without you all. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart."

The Dodgers posted 'Vote for Russell' posters and handed out buttons at Dodger Stadium before the all-star selections.

Martin is the fifth Canadian to start an all-star game. The others were George Selkirk, of Huntsville, Ont., in 1939; Jeff Heath of Fort William, Ont., in 1941; outfielder Larry Walker of Maple Ridge, B.C., in 1997-98-99 and 2001; and Jason Bay, of Trail, B.C., in 2006.

FAREWELL, FROEMMING

Bruce Froemming, who worked the plate last night, will retire at the end of this season, his 37th, as the longest-tenured umpire in baseball. Bill Klem worked more games but in a shorter time span.

"Bill never got vacations like we get now," Froemming said. "We'd only get home during the all-star break - if we didn't work the game."

Froemming worked Milt Pappas' no-hit bid when he called ball four on a 3-2 pitch barely off the plate. Pappas got his no-hitter for the Cubs but missed his perfect game.

"The next day Lou Boudreau (Cubs broadcaster) interviewed me and said 'You know you could have been famous, you could have been the 12th umpire in baseball to call a perfect game.' I asked Lou 'Who was the 11th?' He said he didn't know and I said 'Well, that's how famous I would have been.' "

BACK-TO-BACK

Last night marked consecutive years the all-star game has been played in NL parks. Next year the game will be at Yankee Stadium.

Commissioner Bud Selig said he will return to NL-AL rotation. That means the earliest the Rogers Centre could host the game is 2010.

NOMINEES

The late Larry Whiteside, formerly of the Boston Globe, Dave Van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune and Nick Peters of the Sacramento Bee were nominated for this year's J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which honours excellence in baseball writing.


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