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Home Run Derby

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The Home Run Derby is an event played prior to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. It is a contest among the top home run hitters in Major League Baseball to determine who can hit the most home runs.

Eight players are selected for the Home Run Derby and compete in a traditional playoff system where the players with the most home runs advance to the next round. Each player gets ten "outs" per round, where an out is defined as any swing that is not a home run in this case. Should a tie exist between players at the end of any round, the number of regular-season home runs by the All-Star break is the first tiebreaker and the distance of the longest home run in the first round is the second tiebreaker.

Prior to 1991, the Home Run Derby was structured as a two-inning event with each player receiving five outs per inning which allowed for the possibility of ties.

Until 2004, the Home Run Derby consisted of four American League players and four National League players. However, in 2005, Major League Baseball chose to change the look of the contest, still having eight players, but with the players representing their home countries rather than their respective leagues. This is commonly looked upon as a lead-in to the World Baseball Classic to be played in 2006. Bobby Abreu, representing Venezuela, won the First International Derby with a record 41 home runs, including a record 24 in the first round. In 2006, the Derby moved to a new format as the homerun total would be cumulative through the first two rounds. This allowed David Wright to make the final round despite only 2 homers in the second round (Wright hit 16 in the first) He eventually lost out to Ryan Howard.

Home Run Derby winners

Year

Player

Team

Number of home runs

2007

Vladimir Guerrero

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

17

2006

Ryan Howard

Philadelphia Phillies

24

2005

Bobby Abreu (Venezuela)

Philadelphia Phillies

41

2004

Miguel Tejada

Baltimore Orioles

27

2003

Garret Anderson

Anaheim Angels

22

2002

Jason Giambi

New York Yankees

24

2001

Luis Gonzalez

Arizona Diamondbacks

16

2000

Sammy Sosa

Chicago Cubs

26

1999

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Seattle Mariners

16

1998

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Seattle Mariners

19

1997

Tino Martinez

New York Yankees

16

1996

Barry Bonds

San Francisco Giants

17

1995

Frank Thomas

Chicago White Sox

15

1994

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Seattle Mariners

  7

1993

Juan Gonzalez

Texas Rangers

  7

1992

Mark McGwire

Oakland Athletics

12

1991

Cal Ripken, Jr.

Baltimore Orioles

12

1990

Ryne Sandberg

Chicago Cubs

  3

1989

Eric Davis

Cincinnati Reds

  3

1988

Canceled due to rain

1987

Andre Dawson

Chicago Cubs

  4

1986

Wally Joyner, Darryl Strawberry

California Angels, New York Mets

  4

1985

Dave Parker

Cincinnati Reds

  6

Television Show

Home Run Derby was also the name of a 1959 television show held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles pitting sluggers against each other in 9-inning home run contests. The rules were not unlike modern Home Run Derbies; however, the television show also added as an out any called strike. Nine future Hall of Famers would eventually participate in the series.

Participants included:

Batters were given 3 outs per inning, and the player with the most home runs after nine innings wins. If the players were tied after that time, the derby would go into extra innings as per regular baseball. The winner received $2,000 and was invited back for the next week's episode against a new opponent. The loser received $1,000.

There was extra money awarded in certain cases however. If a batter three home runs in a row, he would receive a $500 bonus. A fourth home run in a row would be worth another $500 bonus. Any consecutive home runs hit beyond that would each be worth $1,000. It is believed that Jackie Jensen was the only player to hit more than three home runs in a row (he hit 5). He still lost the contest to Mickey Mantle though.

The show was also unique in that the host, Mark Scott, would often chat with each player while his opponent was batting.

Hank Aaron held the record for most money won on Home Run Derby, winning $13,000. His run of 6 consecutive wins was ended by Wally Post, who was defeated in his next outing by Dick Stuart.

Willie Mays, who was a champion later in the run, joked with host Scott during his run that the host should be quiet while he batted and Scott took him up on it, whispering into the mic whenever Mays would step up to the plate.

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