Josh Hamilton: Saving the Rangers, while Saving Himself
As all of you know, Josh Hamilton competed in the Home Run Derby this year, and hit 28, yes 28, home runs in the first round, the farthest going about 514 feet.
Then he had to screw it up and choke in the third round vs. Justin Morneau, where he only hit four home runs. But I'm not concerned, really, I'm overjoyed from the life he has put into the Texas Rangers and the way that he has done it has been truly incredible.
Josh Hamilton came out of Raleigh, North Carolina and was a two time North Carolina High School Player of the Year. In his senior year, he was named USA's Baseball Amateur Player of the Year.
Hamilton was the first overall pick in the 1999 draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. His career was sidelined by injuries and more importantly, drug addiction. He was suspended because of the league's substance abuse policy in '02.
The tattoos he now wears on his arms were put in place when he was high, and now he claims he is ashamed of them. Finally, his grandmother confronted him and showed him Christianity. He now says he's been clean since October '05.
Now, if asked about his comeback he says, "It's a GOD thing". Before every at bat at home, the song 'Saved the Day' by the Christian band Phillips Craig & Dean is played.
He travels the country teaching kids about the horrors in drugs and proudly tells his story to anybody willing to hear it. He claims he is living proof that hope is never lost.
Josh Hamilton has made a huge splash this season and has put the Texas Rangers on the map. Before Hamilton, the Rangers have had stars such as Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Even the Manager didn't know the players names on previous teams.
Now the Rangers can see the light and can taste it with people like Ian Kinsler, Milton Bradley, and Michael Young. Not to mention Josh Hamilton is among the league leaders in homers with 21, and is now a first time America League All-Star.
Some people now resent Hamilton because of his troubled past, but I embrace the future and all it may hold, for him, the Rangers, and everyone that thinks they have lost all hope.
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