That ball is outta here: Top Home Run Derby performances

Back, back, back, back – gone!
Karl Ravech

Those who saw it won’t soon forget the sight of New York Yankee behemoth Aaron Judge launching 500-foot drive after 500-foot drive at Marlins Park in Miami to win the 2017 Home Run Derby. It was a display of strength and bat speed that left its witnesses in sheer awe.

This year, Judge may or may not be one of the eight participants as the 2018 edition of the annual pre-All-Star Game power show goes off at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Monday, July 16, on ESPN (with Karl Ravech, Mark Teixeira, Jessica Mendoza and Buster Olney reporting). In fact at this writing, no one had yet definitively indicated they’d be competing, the closest being the Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper, who said he’d participate “if and only if” he was elected as a starter to the All-Star Game the next night.

Whomever wins this year’s Derby will go down in history with other sluggers who emerged victorious in this contest that has been a regular feature of All-Star festivities since 1985. With that in mind, here is a list of some of the best performances from the previous competitions.

Bobby Abreu (2005): Considered more of an average hitter than a slugger during his 18-year major league career, the Philadelphia Phillies outfielder shattered the previous Derby mark of 28 with 24 first-round homers, six in the second round and 11 in the third for a new record of 41 dingers.

Josh Hamilton (2008): In the last year of the old Yankee Stadium’s existence, Hamilton put on a performance worthy of the Babe himself, launching a number of 500-foot shots to wow the crowd at the House That Ruth Built. Unfortunately, he wound up losing in the final round to Justin Morneau.

David Ortiz (2010): The Boston Red Sox great won his only Home Run Derby by out-homering future teammate Hanley Ramirez in the final round.

Todd Frazier (2015): Playing on his home field of Great American Ballpark, the Cincinnati Reds’ third baseman put on a show from start to finish with rounds of 14, 10 and 15 dingers to edge Joc Pedersen of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Giancarlo Stanton (2016): The muscular Miami Marlins slugger jacked 61 balls out of the spacious confines of San Diego’s Petco Park to set a new Derby record.

Aaron Judge (2017): In the midst of a remarkable rookie season, the Yankees slugger put on a display of raw power at Miami’s pitcher-friendly Marlins Stadium to win with a total of 47.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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