Heavy Hitters: The Home Run Derby Dream Team
Imagine baseball's greatest sluggers all in their prime at the same time.
Then, put them all on the same field and have them do what they do best.
Hit home runs.
Eight of baseball's greatest sluggers will make up the Home Run Derby Dream Team. However, this list is not based just on number of home runs in a season or career. Past derbies will also be a factor in the creation of the Dream Team.
Mark McGwire, National League
Yes, I know. Big Mac has been linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Normally, I would not put players associated with steroids in this group.
However, I will make one exception.
Many people remember watching McGwire in the 1999 Home Run Derby at Fenway Park. Mac put up 13 bombs in the first round, many clearing the Green Monster completely. It was a great performance.
Plus, 583 home runs isn't too shabby either.
Babe Ruth, American League
This is one of the most obvious choices for the Derby Dream Team.
In his prime, the Sultan of Swat was one of the greatest sluggers in baseball history. Ruth hit 714 career home runs over 21 MLB seasons.
In addition, the Babe was a showman. He loved being the center of attention, making him the perfect candidate for a Home Run Derby.
Willie Mays, National League
The Say Hey Kid is fourth on the all-time home run list with 660. Although he may not be thought of as a great power hitter, his home run total proves otherwise.
Mays was one of the greatest players in the game. He is a great addition to the Dream Team.
Josh Hamilton, American League
How can Hamilton NOT make this list?
The country watched as a complete underdog, affected in life by drugs, made a comeback in 2008.
Although he didn't win the Derby at the old Yankee Stadium, Hamilton put up the greatest performance in the Derby's history.
Home run after home run flew over the fence in the first round until Josh had put up 28 bombs in one round. That performance put Hamilton onto the Derby Dream Team.
Ken Griffey Jr., National League
This is really cheap.
Griffey Jr. did hit most of his 630 career home runs with the Seattle Mariners. However, I felt he should make this list. If he had been listed in the American League, there would have been too many players from one league.
Griffey is another great choice for the Dream Team. He enjoyed the spotlight and had one of the sweetest swings in baseball. In his prime, Griffey was great.
Reggie Jackson, American League
Reggie had success in All-Star Games, so why not put him in the Derby?
In the 1971 Midsummer Classic, Jackson blasted a home run into an electrical transformer at Tiger Stadium. Had it not hit the tower, the ball would have traveled an estimated 532 feet.
Jackson also hit 563 home runs in his career, making him an excellent candidate for the Dream Team.
Albert Pujols, National League
Maybe this is a bit of a stretch.
However, Pujols is the best hitter in baseball today and has been known to put up big power numbers. He would be a nice addition to the Dream Team.
It would also give Chris Berman another chance for some nice corny jokes, e.g. "Winnie the Pooh-jols" or "Fat Albert Pujols."
Mickey Mantle, American League
Here is another great selection to round out the participants.
Mantle was one of the greatest players of his time and is still considered one of the best players in baseball history.
Although not known as a great power hitter, Mantle would still be a great way to close out the Home Run Derby Dream Team.
Now, I know I may seem crazy for leaving off Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds*, No. 1 and 2 on baseball's all-time home run list.
However, there is reasoning behind it. Aaron was left off because he never hit more 44 home runs in a season. Although that is still a nice total, I don't believe he could string together enough home runs to be a candidate for a Home Run Derby.
Bonds* was left off due to steroid use. As I mentioned in the McGwire slide, I do not like using players associated with PEDs in any of my lists. I made an exception for McGwire, but not for Bonds*.
And the Winner Is...
It's time to see how this Home Run Derby Dream Team would play out.
Here are the projected results.
Griffey Jr.: 5
*Advanced on swing-off
Yes, the Great Bambino would be the champion of the Home Run Derby Dream Team. Ruth loved the spotlight and was always clutch. He would come through when it mattered most.