Home Run Derby 2010: Ranking the Last 15 Winners
Who doesn't love listening to Chris Berman say, "Back, back, back... gone!" over 100 times in a night?
It's the Home Run Derby back for another year. One of the most loved and hated events in baseball wrapped into one.
The glorified batting practice is a fun time to watch players relax and smack the hell out of the ball.
Fans watch with anticipation to see if their favorite hitter will win, while also terrified they'll lose the "swing" that got them to this event in the first place.
But, each year someone overcomes all the hype and fears to be crowned Home Run King.
These are the best from the last 15 years...
No. 15: Justin Morneau, 2008
In reality, Justin Morneau probably shouldn't have won this thing.
Held at Yankee Stadium in New York, this derby held the best first round performance of any of these events.
Josh Hamilton sent 28 HRs over the fences in the first round and ended with a total of 35 for the event.
Hamilton was clearly winded after swinging the bat so much and Morneau snuck in.
Round One: 8 Home Runs
Round Two: 9 Home Runs
Final Round: 5 Home Runs
Morneau's total of 22 and 5-3 victory over Hamilton in the finals was good enough for a win. But Hamilton may be more remembered than anything.
No. 14: Vladimir Guerrero, 2007
The 2007 Home Run Derby at AT&T Park in San Francisco was one of the weaker derbies in awhile.
Vladimir Guerrero came away the winner in a derby where nobody hit above five HRs in the first round.
Things did heat up in the second round though, and that's where the derby found some excitement.
Round One: 5 HRs
Round Two: 9 HRs
Final Round: 3 HRs, beating Alex Rios (2 HRs)
Guerrero ended with a moderate 17 HRs to get the win, which placed him behind Rios with 19 total.
Rios blew up for 12 in the semifinals, but didn't have enough juice left to get more than his final round two HRs.
Guerrero went home happy, not needing the full 10 out attempt to top Rios for the win.
The AL ended up with a 42-32 Home Run total over the NL.
No. 13: Tino Martinez, 1997
Tino Martinez won the 1997 home run derby at Jacobs Field.
Martinez didn't hit the longest ball (maxed out at 436 feet), nor did he fit the most home runs (Larry Walker, 19), but he stayed consistent and won the derby in the finals.
Round One: 5 Home Runs
Round Two: 8 Home Runs
Final Round: 3 Home Runs to win over Larry Walker (1 HR)
With Martinez's win, he also helped the AL with a 32-29 victory over the NL side in home runs.
No. 12: Luis Gonzalez, 2001
Like many other past performers, Luis Gonzalez did what he needed to do for the win.
Gonzalez was in midst of his insane (and shady) 57-home run season, when he took a moment to win the Home Run Derby.
Round One: 5 Home Runs
Round Two: 5 Home Runs
Final Round: 6 Home Runs
Luis Gonzalez stayed consistent throughout the home run derby and did enough to advance through each round. His 16 home runs came in second to Jason Giambi's 20 HRs, but the tournament format had Giambi eliminated in round two by Sammy Sosa.
Gonzalez took out both Barry Bonds (semifinals) and Sammy Sosa (finals) to get to the top.
No. 11: Prince Fielder, 2009
Last year, Prince Fielder did something his father never could, win a Home Run Derby.
Participating at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Fielder had a solid derby allowing him to get the win. He led the N.L. back on top of the derby with a 51-31 home run showing.
Round One: 11 HRs
Round Two: 6 HRs
Final Round: 6 HRs, beating Nelson Cruz (5 HRs) in the finals
Fielder's clean swing of the bat led to 23 total home runs. Fielder and Cruz were neck and neck the whole way, each with 11 in the first round.
But Fielder got an extra home run in both the second and final rounds to show his dominance.
No. 10: Frank Thomas, 1995
Held at The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, Frank Thomas was able to squeak out a victory.
The American League dominated this derby, crushing the N.L. 40-12 in Home Runs.
Thomas ended up with 15 home runs, beating Albert Belle in the finals. Belle actually ended with 16 HRs total, but they came too soon as the Big Hurt took advantage.
No. 9: Ken Griffey Jr., 1999
For the second straight year, Ken Griffey Jr. found himself in the Derby finals.
It was an up-and-down performance, but allowed him to come away with the W.
Round One: 3 HRs, but managed to sneak through.
Round Two: 10 HRs, easily cementing a place in the finals
Final Round: 3 HRs, topping Jeromy Burnitz (2 HRs)
Griffey ended with 16 total, tied with Mark McGwire.
McGwire hit 13 HRs in round one, but only 3 HRs in round two.
This was Griffey's third derby win and final time participating as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
No. 8: Barry Bonds, 1996
In 1996, from Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, two faces of baseball went toe to toe.
Barry Bonds came away the winner and little did baseball know the home run prowess still to come in Bonds' future.
He finished with a total of 17 home runs, good enough to beat the Oakland Athletics' own (at the time) Mark McGwire's 15 HRs.
The AL did continue to dominate, as it had 36 HRs to 23 for the NL.
No. 7: Ryan Howard, 2006
PNC Park in Pittsburgh saw crosstown rival Ryan Howard enter the derby and fare quite well for himself.
The first round saw a bevy of home run activity, but Howard was slowly able to separate himself from the pack.
Round One: 8 Home Runs
Round Two: 10 Home Runs
Final Round: 5 Home Runs, beating David Wright 5-4 in the finals.
Ryan Howard ended with 23 total home runs, beating out David Wright's 22 HRs with that final round.
Wright hit 16 to start off the event, but never could recover the rest of the way.
Howard went away with a big smile and with Wright, helped the NL dominate with 62 HRs to 24 HRs for the AL.
No. 6: Garret Anderson, 2003
Garret Anderson participated in perhaps the most odd Home Run Derby.
U.S Cellular Field in Chicago played host while Anderson found himself hitting only third in total Home Runs, yet winning the event.
If it wasn't for his showing in the finals, he would be lower on the list.
Round One: 7 Home Runs
Round Two: 6 Home Runs, beating Jim Edmonds (4 HRs)
Final Round: 9 Home Runs
Anderson finished with a total of 22 HRs. He beat Albert Pujols (26 HRs) in the final round, who lost by one to Anderson. Jason Giambi also had more home runs than Anderson, finishing with 23 HRs.
Giambi had been eliminated by Pujols in a 14-11 semifinal slugfest, denying his attempt at back to back titles.
This derby also led to another rule change, eliminating the one on one semifinal format.
No. 5: Jason Giambi, 2002
Jason Giambi may have the most heartbreaking stories of all Home Run Derby participants. In the tournament format Giambi often found himself dominating round one with double digit dingers, but with some bad luck in round two.
But, in 2002, he was able to sneak out a Home Run Derby win at Milwaukee's Miller Park.
Round One: 11 Home Runs
Round Two: 6 Home Runs, advanced to finals in a swing off with Paul Konerko
Final Round: 7 Home Runs
Jason Giambi almost didn't make it to the finals, but when he did, he easily ousted Sammy Sosa for his first derby win. Giambi finished with 24 HRs.
No. 4: Ken Griffey Jr., 1998
In 1998, Coors Field in Denver got to see Ken Griffey Jr. at his finest.
Griffey was in his home run prime and was looking for his second career Home Run Derby win.
Round One: 8 HRs
Round Two: 8 HRs
Final Round: 3 HRs
Griffey ended with 19 total, but showed consistency throughout the entire event. He out-shined Mark McGwire who came in to the event on his 70 HR pace.
Jim Thome was the other finalist. He ended with 17 home runs, tying Griffey with 3 HRs in the final round, but the total gave Griffey the tiebreaker.
The A.L. came away with a dominating 53-29 win over the N.L.
No. 3: Miguel Tejada, 2004
Minute Maid Park in Houston saw Miguel Tejada go toe to toe with hometown favorite Lance Berkman in 2004.
Tejada had a dominating performance, however, and Berkman's solid showing was no match.
Round One: 7 Home Runs
Round Two: 15 Home Runs
Final Round: 5 Home Runs, beating Berkman (4 HRs)
Miguel Tejada totaled 27 bombs in his impressive derby showing. In the finals, he still had five outs to spare when he surpassed Berkman's total.
His 27 HRs stand as third highest total in derby history, and second highest for a winner. He was simply in a zone that year both during the Derby and in the majors.
Tejada participated in one more derby, but never came close to matching his magical night.
No. 2: Sammy Sosa, 2000
In 2000, Sammy Sosa simply dominated the event.
Held at Turner Field in Atlanta, Sosa made it known after a moderate start, nobody would be competing the rest of the way.
Sosa became the first player to hit for over 25 HRs at that point in the event's history.
Round One: 6 HRs
Round Two: 11 HRs
Round 3: 9 HRs, beating Griffey Jr. (2 HRs)
Sammy Sosa finished with a total of 26 HRs, but never had any doubts about winning it. With the tournament format in full swing, he took out Carl Everett 11-6 in round two.
And then in the finals, Sosa stopped Griffey's bid for a three-peat by crushing him and the ball.
The second closest total for the event was Everett with 12, well behind Sosa's mark.
No. 1: Bobby Abreu, 2005
At the top of the list, Bobby Abreu cemented himself as Home Run Derby King.
Abreu was never the prototypical power guy, but he took full advantage of his opportunity.
The derby was held in Detroit at Comerica Park, not the friendliest of hitters parks, but not awful either.
Abreu did not waste any time helping the ball find everything from concession stands to seats.
Round One: Abreu broke the all-time round one record (at the time) with 24 bombs early
Round Two: He managed to overcome a bit of fatigue and hit 6 dingers, just enough to get him into the finals.
Final Round: Going against hometown favorite Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, Bobby went deep for double digits again, obliterating Pudge in an 11-5 victory.
Abreu won the derby with a total of 41 home runs.
His career high in a season 31.
Since the derby, Abreu has yet to surpass 20 home runs in a season.