The story of Josh Hamilton goes back awhile. After being one of the few first overall picks to be drafted straight out of Raleigh, NC's High School, he quickly moved through the D-Rays farm system.
I saw him play for the Hudson Valley Renegades, the Single A affiliate of the Rays in the NY-Penn League. Then Hamilton had a major set back in his young life. Drugs were to blame.
Drugs destroyed Hamilton's career for a few years. He became an alcoholic and was addicted to many other "hard" drugs, the main one being heroin. He was finally reinstated into the league in 2004, where he once again made his way through the farm system.
Hamilton had many restrictions though that were assigned to him by the D-Rays. Rules such as he must always be with a team mate, he must not have more than $20 on him, and he must not drink. Hamilton has been sober since his reinstatement in '04.
Hamilton started to look like the first overall pick that the D-Rays had hoped for. A bad move by the D-Rays sent Josh to the Reds where he played in 2006. He did decent but did not yet emerge as a star player, and was still re-adjusting to baseball again.
In 2007, he continued his adjustment to baseball with the Reds. In the off season between the 2007 and 2008 season, a huge trade went down which sent Josh Hamilton to the Rangers in exchange for Edinson Volquez.
Edinson is having a great 2008 season, but I would have much rather had Hamilton. Hamilton is tearing up the 2008 season. Batting over .300, while leading the AL in home runs at most times.
He is in the running for the triple crown, which would make him forever remembered in baseball history; not that his amazing 28 home runs in the first round of the Home Run Derby didn't already do that.
Anyway, I do not care who your favorite team is. I don't care if your a Rays, Reds, Astros, Mets, Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox or any other teams biggest fan. Josh Hamilton is a player who should be liked throughout baseball.
Maybe you don't need to like him, but you have no choice to respect him. He has experienced the all time lows and now the all time highs in life. And i think the highs have beaten the lows in Josh Hamilton's future...