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Rangers Memories: Josh Hamilton and the 2008 Home Run Derby

Rangers Memories: Josh Hamilton and the 2008 Home Run Derby

2008 was a year of transition for me. I had just moved back to Texas from Arkansas where I had spent the last two years with my girlfriend. Those two years were painful as there was no Rangers baseball to watch. The Cardinals ruled in Arkansas. Oh, the irony in that just dawned on me. There was also the fact that she hated baseball. Her and her little boy were all about soccer. And, yes, he played on a team that didn’t keep score. So I eventually broke up with her (not because of the baseball thing, though it didn’t help) and moved back to Texas in time for spring training.

I remember very well when I read about the Rangers trading Edinson Volquez to the Reds for Josh Hamilton. I scratched my head at first wondering what they were thinking. Volquez was a pitcher with a good future ahead of him and let him go for a guy with a history of drug abuse? He was even assigned an accountability partner. Oh, how my opinion vastly reversed.

By the time the All-Star break came around Josh had hit 21 home runs with 95 RBI. He was a fan favorite. And mine as well. I was excited when he was selected to the All-Star game along with teammates Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Milton Bradley. I became more excited when he chose to participate in the Home Run Derby.

I don’t think anybody was expecting what we were about to witness.

It was fitting that Josh Hamilton would set the derby record with 28 home runs in the first round in the final season at the old Yankee Stadium. It was the “House that Ruth Built”. What’s a better send-off than to see mammoth moon shots? And to hear the crowd in New York chanting his name gave me goosebumps.

I was back home. Baseball was fun again. There was balance in my life again. And it was only going to get better.

Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats!

James Holland is a credentialed staff writer for Dallas Sports Fanatic. He's a lifelong fan of baseball and his hometown Texas Rangers. He's a member of SABR and Fangraphs because he craves ALL the data. He's also a karaoke addict who hosts shows at his favorite bar in Arlington.

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