CHICAGO – Bryan LaHair waited a long time for this moment.
He never gave up on his big league dream despite toiling in the minor leagues for nine seasons, 970 games, 3,624 at-bats and two organizations.
One of his baseball dreams was finally realized Sunday when LaHair made the National League All-Star team for the first time in his career. He will join shortstop Starlin Castro, earning his second All-Star selection, in Kansas City for the Midsummer Classic on July 10. Both Cubs were chosen by player votes.
“It was a dream as a little boy to be an All-Star,” LaHair said. “But to think that it was going to happen this fast or at all, it’s really tough to get into that game.
It’s just incredible. I really have a loss for words in a lot of ways.”
First base coach Dave McKay also will partake in the All-Star festivities as a member of Tony La Russa’s coaching staff. The Cubs have two representatives for the first time since 2008, when eight players made the team. Even though the Cubs own the worst record in baseball, they have as many All-Stars as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates, both of which are one game out of first place in their respective divisions.
The White Sox send three players to Kansas City with the potential to add a fourth. Pitcher Chris Sale (first selection), first baseman Paul Konerko (sixth selection) and designated hitter Adam Dunn (second selection) were named to the American League squad. Pitcher Jake Peavy is one of five AL players in the final vote, which is chosen by fans.
Manager Dale Sveum called everyone into the clubhouse before Sunday’s game to announce the All-Star selections. LaHair became only the third Cubs first baseman to earn an All-Star nod in the past 30 years (Derrek Lee and Mark Grace).
“To be able to tell a kid  years old he’s making the All-Star team after so much time in the minor leagues, it’s one of those special stories that come around once in a while,” Sveum said. “That’s what we live for in the game, those special moments because there’s so many negative things in the game we have to endure.”
Only 22, Castro is establishing himself as one of the premier ballplayers. He is the first Cubs shortstop to make the All-Star team in back-to-back seasons since Don Kessinger appeared in five straight from 1968-72.
“It’s different because this year I’m a little bit nervous because he told me late,” Castro said. “Last year when I came here in the morning he tell me right away. But today I go to practice and say ‘Why nobody say nothing to me? I don’t go or what?’ Then Dale did the meeting and told me. I said ‘OK, deep breath.’ “
One of the most glaring omissions involved Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Despite ranking in the top 2 at his position in batting average (.285), home runs (14) and RBIs (45), he was passed over by Rangers manager Ron Washington in favor of Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and Baltimore’s Matt Wieters. Rangers’ Mike Napoli won the fan vote and starts at catcher.
Fans have until 3 p.m. Thursday to vote online for Peavy and send him to his third All-Star game. In an all pitcher battle in the AL Final Vote, Peavy goes up against the Royals’ Jonathan Broxton, Rangers’ Yu Darvish, Angels’ Ernesto Frieri and Orioles’ Jason Hammel.