Naturally Speaking, It Was Hamilton’s Night
Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on July 15, 2008
In my 20 years as a baseball fan, ten of those as your favorite neighborhood sports columnist in Cooper-Young, Whitehaven, and now North Highland Park, I have been witness to some of the most memorable moments in the annual All-Star Home Run Derby.
In 1994, as a scrawny 9 year-old, I watched Frank Thomas knock the cover off the ball at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium in the Home Run Derby only to see a month later that the players, unlike me, cared more about having a money line longer than Lil’ Wayne’s dreads than playing the game they loved.
There was the All-Star festivities in 1998 in which Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey, Jr, and my favorite player of all time, Jim Thome, went toe-to-toe at Coors Field in a battle that was to be won by Griffey.
And there was the tape measure shot that I remember seeing Sosa hit back in 2002 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, something that I myself would copy in a sandlot baseball game in Whitehaven a week later when I hit one that went over everything and into the pool in the apartment complex I lived in.
But along with Bobby Abreu’s 2005 HR Derby win and the improbable title that was won by Garrett Anderson in 2003, last night’s Home Run Derby, the first and last to be held in historic Yankee Stadium, was something straight out of a Disney movie.
As many of us know, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was drowning in a sea of drugs and alcohol a couple of years ago, this after being drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a #1 draft pick in 1998 and on the verge of potentially being one of the best young stars in the game.
After years of abuse, Hamilton straightened himself up with the help of his family and had a decent rookie season with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007, only to be shipped to Texas before this season. Hamilton entered the All-Star break with the fourth most RBIs of any player in baseball history, earning him a trip to Yankee Stadium for his first All-Star Game.
On Monday night, Hamilton, with the help of his former coach, gave the Yankee Stadium faithful one more moment to bask in before it heads into the memory bank of every baseball fan by hitting a record 28 homers, including three 500-foot bombs in right and 13 in a row.
How about that?
In an article that was published by USA TODAY, Hamilton said that one of his dreams was to be in the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium and use it as a sounding board to the world about the hole that God brought him out of despite all the dark nights and lonely roads that he went through to get here and to say on baseball’s biggest stage, hope was never lost.
It’has always been there.
This entry was posted on July 15, 2008 at 8:34 PM and is filed under MLB. Tagged: All-Star Game, AUTHOR:DOC HANCOCK, Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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