SlugFest Showdown: Who Had the Greatest Home Run Derby Performance?
Almost every year since 1985, some of baseball’s top sluggers have gathered before the All-Star Game to put on a spectacle of power for the Home Run Derby. With the 32nd edition of the contest coming up on July 16, we thought back to all the players who have won in years past using Louisville Slugger bats.
After some detective work, we found that 19 of the 33 winners – or about 58% – were under contract with Louisville Slugger.
That number is impressive, but there’s more. Players like Todd Frazier and Giancarlo Stanton did not have contracts with us when they won their Derbies but used a Louisville Slugger at times throughout the season. Josh Hamilton also put on a performance for the ages while under contract with us, despite coming in second in 2008.
Now that we’ve compiled all this information, we want to hear from you: Which of these players do you think had the most impressive Home Run Derby performance?
We created a SlugFest Showdown bracket with eight of the best performances by players who used Louisville Slugger at some point during the season they won the Derby.
Below is that bracket and a brief description of each performance, plus links to our Facebook page so you can vote for who you think deserves to move on to the next round. You’ll be entered to win a personalized All-Star Game Bat for every round you vote, so the more rounds you vote the better your chances of winning a bat!
Voting will begin on July 14, and the bracket will be updated throughout the contest.
• Matchup 1:
o 2016 Giancarlo Stanton
o 2015 Todd Frazier
2016 Giancarlo Stanton: Giancarlo Stanton showed off his impressive power at the Home Run Derby in 2016, a season in which he used Louisville Slugger U47C and P147C models. Stanton shattered the record for most home runs in a Derby when he hit 61, a whopping 20 more than the previous record holder Bobby Abreu. He went on to beat defending champ Todd Frazier 20-13 in the Finals to capture his first Home Run Derby title.
2015 Todd Frazier: Todd Frazier faced a tough road to the Home Run Derby Championship in 2015. He pulled out narrow victories in the first couple of rounds as he first beat Prince Fielder 14-13 and then Josh Donaldson 10-9. Frazier faced rookie sensation Joc Pederson in the Finals, defeating him 15-14 to take the victory and finished with 39 home runs in the contest.
o 2008 Josh Hamilton
o 2011 Robinson Cano
2008 Josh Hamilton: In 2008, Josh Hamilton captivated the baseball world as he went on a tear in the First Round of the Home Run Derby. He used a Louisville Slugger C353C model and hit 28 home runs in the round, a record that still stands. Hamilton went on to lose to Justin Morneau in the final round by a score of 5-3 but hit a total of 13 more blasts than anyone else that year. Hamilton would later sign a contract with us in 2012.
2011 Robinson Cano: The 2011 Home Run Derby was a close contest between Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez. Cano trailed Gonzalez 9-8 after the First Round, but out-hit him 12-11 in the Semifinals. In the Final Round, Gonzalez hit first and finished with 11 blasts. Cano followed that by hitting his 12th home run with four outs remaining, which was a record for most home runs hit in the Final Round.
• Matchup 1:
o 1999 Ken Griffey Jr.
o 2012 Prince Fielder
1999 Ken Griffey Jr: Following his 1998 victory – when he became the first player ever to win more than once – Ken Griffey Jr came back to defend his title in 1999 and go for his third overall. After a slow start, Junior found his way in to the Finals against Jeromy Burnitz of the Milwaukee Brewers. “The Kid” beat Burnitz 3-2 in the round to capture his third title – a record that still stands. Junior signed a contract with Louisville Slugger in 1991 and used the classic C271 model for most of his career.
2012 Prince Fielder: Having won his first Home Run Derby title in 2009, Prince Fielder was going for his second in 2012. He hit a total of 28 blasts – including 12 in the Finals – on his way to the crown. At the time, Fielder was just the second player ever to win the contest more than once. He signed a contract with us in 2005.
• Matchup 2:
o 1991 Cal Ripken Jr
o 2004 Miguel Tejada
1991 Cal Ripken Jr: In 1991, Cal Ripken Jr dominated the Home Run Derby like no one before him. With the format being changed from two rounds to three, he became the first player in the history of the event to reach double digit home runs. He finished with 12 total shots – 7 more than his next closest competitor, Paul O’Neill from the Cincinnati Reds. Ripken Jr signed with us in 1978, 16 years after his father.
2004 Miguel Tejada: The 2004 Home Run Derby in Houston came down to Miguel Tejada and home-town favorite, Lance Berkman. After hitting what was a record 15 home runs in the Semifinals (broken the next year by Abreu), Tejada hit the winning home run with five outs remaining in the Final Round and finished with a total of 27. He signed a contract with Louisville Slugger in 2001.