Texas Rangers

Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo first Korean-born position player to earn All-Star nod

Shin-Soo Choo found out he was an All-Star for the first time in his career before Sunday's series finale against the Tigers.

The 14-year MLB veteran who turns 36 on Friday will represent the Texas Rangers at the All-Star Game in Washington DC on July 17.

He'll go into the All-Star break with the longest on-base streak since at least 2015 after reaching on a clutch, two-out, infield single in the ninth inning of Sunday's 3-0 win at Comerica Park.

Choo, who has been playing with a sore right quadriceps muscle for more than a week, joked the he needed the four days off to prepare for the second half when manager Jeff Banister told the team the news. He was bluffing, of course.

"I got goose bumps," Choo admitted upon hearing the news. "When I was coming from Korea to play in the big leagues, I was never expecting this. I never thought I'd be playing in an All-Star game with the best players. It's probably the best day of my life."

Choo undoubtedly deserved the nod from Astros' manager A.J. Hinch, who selected the American League reserves. He becomes the first Korean-born position player to earn an All-Star spot.

Korean pitchers Chan-ho Park (2001) and Byung-hyun Kim (2002) are the only others to earn an All-Star nod. Choo will be the second-oldest Rangers player to make an All-Star team since Charlie Hough did it in 1986 at 38.

"I'll probably never forget about this moment. I just want to enjoy it with my family," he said. "It's not easy to do. There’s a lot of good teams. It’s an unbelievable day today."

Choo is hitting .293 with 17 home runs, 20 doubles, 42 RBIs and 52 runs scored. He's among league AL leaders in on-base percentage (.399), on-base plus slugging percentage (.906) and walks (56).

"It’s very special for me, my family and my country," he said. "I'm very excited. I can't wait."

Keone Kela, who saved his 22nd game in as many chances on Sunday, also had a strong All-Star case. His 22 saves are the most in the majors without a blown save.

"It's really cool," said Adrian Beltre, a four-time All-Star. "The things Choo is doing this year with the streak and keeping our team alive and doing it with one leg. He's been unbelievable and he definitely deserved it."

Rangers manager Jeff Banister said the honor means a great deal to Choo.

"I think there's a deeper and greater appreciation in Choo's heart based on his age, the number of years in the league, the amount of people he plays for and carries with him every night he steps on a major league field," he said.

"He represents the Texas Rangers and his family but this guy also represents much more than that. For him to be recognized as an All-Star is one of the better things I've seen in baseball just for who he is as a human being and everything he does on a daily basis, not just for himself, but for his teammates also."

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