Over the next few days, we’ll be looking at some of our favorite MLB All-Star Game and Home Run Derby Memories. For today’s memory, let’s checkout Josh Hamilton absolutely crushing baseballs in the 2008 Home Run Derby.
I was 10-years old, and this was the first home run derby that I ever remember watching. 28 Home Runs in the first round. Twenty. Fucking. Eight. I didn’t know any better. I thought that was normal. I thought this is what people did every year. I didn’t realize it was that special at the time. And that stretch that Hamilton went on with 8 outs. To hit 13 home runs in a row? Incredible.
Most people forget that Hamilton didn’t even win the Home Run Derby. He technically lost to Justin Morneau 5-3 in the Finals. But does that really matter? No. What matters was we got to see a record breaking performance (28 Home Runs is the single round record, if you didn’t know).
2008 was a big year for Josh Hamilton. It was his second year in the majors, and it was a long and tough road for Hamilton to get there. The #1 overall pick of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, and was out of baseball for three years before eventually cracking into the majors with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007. The 2008 season was Hamilton’s first of what would become five straight All-Star appearances, and this home run derby helped him become one of the biggest superstars in all of baseball.
On a side note, I loved this home run derby set up. I hate the new timer crap. Sure batters get unlimited swings within the time frame, but I liked it a lot more when they got to choose the pitches they wanted more carefully.