Josh Hamilton: Defying The Odds

Todd ParmeleeSenior Analyst IJune 11, 2008

With everything that has been going on in Major League Baseball off the field, it has been difficult for some fans to find someone to root for.

But Josh Hamilton is baseball’s feel-good story of the decade—maybe the last couple of decades — because he has battled both drug addiction and critics.

A close second would be Chipper Jones batting .419 midway through June. Yes, Chipper Jones a guy who is 36 years old and having a career year.

Jones is a story for another day, though, as it is Hamilton who deserves the spotlight. Spotlight like being on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which Hamilton graced on the June 2 edition.

This is the same Josh Hamilton who is four years removed from a crack cocaine addiction. Someone that had thrown away everything constantly chasing a high with little regard for his own life, baseball seemingly an afterthought.

You have seen stories like his on the television show Intervention. Josh Hamilton was one of those stories—except he was a guy that was throwing away Mantle-like talent.

Hamilton was the number-one pick of the Tampa Devil Rays in the 1999 Draft. Hamilton did not make it to the big leagues until the 2007 season with Cincinnati Reds. It was a season where Hamilton showed signs of brilliance (19 homers and 47 RBI in 90 games), but battled injuries.

In the offseason, the Reds traded Hamilton to the Texas Rangers for Edinson Volquez and Danny Herrera. Although the trade has strengthened Cincinnati’s rotation and their outfield was already deep, it has provided greater dividends to Texas. With Hamilton’s emergence and superstar-like stats, Texas is currently above .500 (34-33), after finishing last season 75-87.

The Rangers outfielder is having an MVP season this year, as he is amongst the league leaders in homeruns (17), RBI (71), batting average (.317) and runs (46). At this current rate, Hamilton will drive in 175 RBI—an astounding number.

Everyday Josh Hamilton continues to defy the odds—not just trying to become baseball’s first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski, but by battling for his sobriety.