"Not that long ago, there were nights where I would go to sleep in strange places praying I wouldn't wake up...My thinking was clouded, and my talent was one day closer to be being totally wasted."—Josh Hamilton (ESPN.com article)
It has been a roller coaster of a baseball career so far for the Rangers' slugger, Josh Hamilton.
After being selected by the Tampa Bay 'Devil' Rays in the 1999 First Year Player Draft, he was sent to the minors and was considered one of the best prospects in the game of baseball.
In 2001, Josh suffered a back injury from a car accident and tweaked his quadriceps ending his season. Hamilton suffered three different injuries in 2002. He re-injured his back, broke a rib and then hurt his elbow.
In 2003, Hamilton's major league hopes were derailed by drug and alcohol addiction. He was suspended by Major League Baseball for Drug Policy violations. He was suspended for one month and fined an undisclosed amount.
Again in 2004, he was suspended for the entire season for violating the MLB substance abuse policy. He then married Katie Chadwick later that year.
His third year not playing baseball, 2005, brought more bad news for Hamilton. He was separated (not divorced) from his wife, Katie, and moved in with his grandmother, Mary Holt, after the separation. Holt, is the person credited for getting Hamilton to quit drugs and turn his life over to God.
In 2006, Hamilton was cleared to play again after being sober since October 5th, 2005. He started to play with the Single-A club for the Rays and then moved to Cincinnati as a part of the Rule 5 Draft.
In his first season in the bigs, 2007, Hamilton played with the Reds and hit .292 with 19 homers and 47 RBIs in 90 games played. After the season, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for pitcher, Edison Volquez.
So far in 2008, Hamilton is the front runner for American League MVP. At the All-Star Break, Josh has driven in 95 runs and is hitting .310. With those numbers, he was selected to start in the All-Star Game for the AL team.
He competed in the Home Run Derby and hit 28 home runs in the first round (HR Derby Record) and finished in second place with 35 overall. His farthest homer was measured at an amazing 512 feet (second longest in HR Derby history).
When confronted about his former drug addiction, Hamilton simply says, "It's a God thing". Hamilton is not shy about his story, he talks to groups and fans at different functions about how Christianity has brought his life from drugs to what it is now.
The song that plays when Hamilton steps to the plate in Texas is, "Saved The Day" by the Christian group, Phillips, Craig & Dean.