Only one catcher in Cubs history has made more All-Star Game starts than Willson Contreras.
That’s about to change.
Contreras earned his third career starting nod for the Midsummer Classic Friday, when MLB announced the exhibition game’s starters, as voted by fans.
Contreras beat out Braves backstop Travis d’Arnaud to earn the historic nod, which will be his third All-Star start (also 2018, 19).
When he takes the field July 19 at Dodger Stadium, he’ll tie Hall of Famer and six-time All-Star Gabby Harnett for most All-Star starts by a catcher in Cubs history.
That, of course, is assuming Contreras — who’s been out of the lineup the last few days due to hamstring tightness — is still a Cub when the game rolls around. He’s expected to be traded by the Aug. 2 deadline.
Contreras, who’s set to become a free agent after this season, is having a career year in his seventh season and 14th year in the Cubs organization. Entering Friday, he’s hitting .274/.392/.498 with 13 home runs and 35 RBIs.
Entering Friday, he led NL catchers in hits, walks, runs, doubles, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS. He was tied for first in homers and tied for third in RBIs.
He spoke about his selection with reporters Friday in Los Angeles, including the Sun-Times' Maddie Lee.
Contreras will become the 10th Cub all-time to make at least three All-Star starts, putting him in great company with Hartnett, Billy Herman, Stan Hack, Don Kessinger, Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson and Sammy Sosa.
He talked during the Cubs’ last homestand about how much it would mean to him to represent the organization in the All-Star Game again
“It would mean a lot,” Contreras said June 30. “It would be nice for me, my family and the city of Chicago that’s always had my back.
“Doing it in a Cubs jersey, it means everything to me.”
Speaking of his family, Contreras could be joined by his brother, William, in the starting lineup. William finished second in voting among NL designated hitters to Phillies slugger Bryce Harper.
Harper is on the injured list with a broken thumb and expected to be sidelined for several more weeks.
Willson said he was “speechless” recently when asked about both him and William being All-Stars.
“If we can make it together, we’re both going to enjoy it a lot,” Willson said. “My family would be really proud, and we would enjoy it. I’m speechless
“You just asked me, and I have so many things on my mind, thinking back to [childhood] days in my neighborhood in Venezuela, the long way that we had to come to make it to the big leagues.
“I can say a lot, but at the same time, I’m speechless.”
All-Star pitchers and reserves will be announced Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN. David Robertson and Ian Happ are among the Cubs’ potential candidates.