The 2012 MLB Home Run Derby is tonight in Kansas City. Eight players will step up to the plate and attempt to impress the crowd, hit some home runs, and maybe break some records. With two former champions and four newcomers, anything is possible. Here are five home run derby competitors with the most memorable and exciting performances.
Josh Hamilton: At the final All-Star Game played at Yankee Stadium, Hamilton gave Yankees fans one last chance to celebrate the House That Ruth Built when he broke the single-round record by hitting 28 home runs in the first round, four in the second, and three in the final for a total of 35. While he did come in second place, it was his perfomance that everyone remembers. At one point he hit 13 straight home runs, including three that traveled more than 500 feet.
Ken Griffey Jr: In the 1993 Home Run Derby at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Ken Griffey Jr. hit a bomb that cleared the stadium and hit the warehouse across the street. He was the first player to ever do this and there is even a plaque on the warehouse wall commemortating his hit.
Bobby Abreu: The 2005 Home Run Derby was the first and last International derby that was launched as a way to promote the World Baseball Classic. Eight different nations had players competing, but it was Venezuela’s Bobby Abreau that would wow everyone watching. In the first round, Bobby hit a then-record-setting 24 homers. He hit 10 home runs in his first 14 swings, one of which traveled 517 feet. In the second round, he hit six more and ended with a final-round tally of 11. Unlike everyone else on this list, Bobby actually ended up coming in first place with an impressive 41 home runs -- which is still a record to this day.
David Ortiz: In the 2005, David Ortiz hit 17 homers in the first round alone, which while impressive, was overshadowed by the performance of Bobby Abreu. This is still the third most home runs hit in one round. Ortiz only hit three in the second round and did not make it to the finals. He would eventually win it all in 2010.
Mark McGwire: After breaking Roger Maris’ home-run record with 70 home runs, Mark hit a record 13 homers in the first round of the 1999 contest at Fenway Park. He lost the derby to Ken Griffey Jr. but had a truly memorable homer that went over the Green Monster, across the street and over a parking garage, eventually hitting a billboard near the Massachusetts Turnpike. Despite this 488-foot homer and 15 others, Mark did not make it past the second round.