A lot of folks were probably disappointed when they heard that Josh Hamilton would not participate in this year’s Home Run Derby. For obvious reasons, Texas Rangers’ manager Ron Washington was not one of them.
As the story goes, Washington hadn’t known that Hamilton was being considered as a participant before the Rangers’ outfielder approached him prior to Wednesday’s game in Oakland to tell him that he would turn the invite down. Washington responded by hugging the slugger.
"I didn't help him with the decision," Washington said, per the Dallas Morning News. "But when he told me I was very, very happy he's not doing it. He has so much torque in his swing. If he swings and misses, he could get hurt. And if he's hurt, we're hurt.”
The current American League leader in home runs with 21, Hamilton’s prodigious power was (arguably) first recognized on a national scale in 2008, when he peppered old Yankee Stadium with tape measure shots, finishing with 35 (28 in the first round alone), the second-most in Derby history. Of course, he would go on to lose to Minnesota’s Justin Morneau that year, but Hamilton’s remains the one of most memorable Derby performances in recent memory.