Baseball’s big bats take center stage on Monday for the 2013 MLB Home Run Derby. And given the amount of power in the lineup, this year’s Derby could be one of the most exciting in recent memory.
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who leads the majors with 33 home runs, anchors the American League squad. Also representing the AL is last year’s winner, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder, and the 2011 Derby champ, Yankees first baseman Robinson Cano.
On the National League side, captain David Wright of the Mets will try to send the hometown crowd away with a New York victory. Joining him is 20-year-old Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. When Harper takes his first cut, he’ll be the youngest player to ever compete in the Derby. If he hits a homerun, he’ll be the youngest to do that, too.
The stage is set for a historic night that could potentially rank among the most memorable of all-time.
Here are five other recent Home Run Derbies that captured America’s attention for one glorious night.
Held at Turner Field in Atlanta, the 2000 Home Run Derby wasn’t short on big-time names, highlighted by Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr., and Chipper Jones. Sosa came out on top, blasting 26 homers to easily outpace his competition.
The buzz heading into this Derby was centered on three other participants who happened to be in the 500 home-run club at the time: Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro and Sosa. But it was Orioles’ shortstop Miguel Tejada’s night to shine. He set a record with 15 out-of-towners in the second round, and slammed 27 total.
Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu, in his 10th year as a major leaguer, set a first-round record with 24 homers. He finished with 41 on the night, easily taking home the crown in what was a career year for him. He also smacked three “golden balls” out of Comerica Park, adding $63,000 to the total $294,000 that was donated to charity that night.
Another Phillie took center stage in the 2006 Home Run Derby. First baseman and left-handed powerhouse Ryan Howard battled fellow second-year player, New York Mets third baseman David Wright, and kept the Phillies winning streak alive by dinging 23 long balls.
Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau will forever be recognized the champ, but it was Texas Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton who stole the spotlight with a record 28 home runs in the first round alone.
Photo: Prince Fielder hits during the 2012 MLB Home Run Derby. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)