Just Dingers: Boston's Home Run Derby history
While there won't be any Red Sox in Monday night's MLB Home Run Derby, Boston has a long history of success in the event. From Jim Rice to David Ortiz, six different Red Sox have competed for baseball's home run slugging crown. Let's take a look at how each of them fared...
1985: JIM RICE
Venue: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis
Home Runs: 4
Rice, who entered the break with 17 home runs, performed admirably in the inaugural Home Run Derby. Rice was one of five players to tie for second place with four home runs along with Tom Brunansky, Dale Murphy, Eddie Murray, and former Boston backstop Carlton Fisk. It was Cincinnati's Dave Parker who took home the crown, however, pacing the contest with six home runs.
1995: MO VAUGHN
Venue: The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas
Home Runs: 6 (3 in 1st round; 3 in 2nd round)
After a decade-long absence, Boston made its return to the Derby in 1995 as Mo Vaughn, one of the game's preeminent sluggers, tried to become the first Red Sox player to win the event. While Vaughn was able to make it out of the first round, he fell short of the final and eventual champion Frank Thomas. Vaugh ended up tied for third with Cincinnati's Ron Gant.
1997: NOMAR GARCIAPARRA
Venue: Jacobs Field in Cleveland
Home Runs: 0
Nomar hit 178 home runs in a Red Sox Uniform, including 30 in 1997, but couldn't manage to put one over the fence in his first Derby appearance. The Yankees' Tino Martinez eventually took down Rockies outfielder Larry Walker in the final and Garciaparra remains the only Red Sox player to go homerless in a Derby appearance.
1999: NOMAR GARCIAPARRA
Venue: Fenway Park
Home Runs: 2
Garciaparra managed to sock two homers over the Green Monster as the hometown hero, but still fell short of advancing to the second round and settled for a tie for fifth. Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. took home his third and final Derby crown, defeating Milwaukee's Jeromy Burnitz 3-2 in the final round.
2000: CARL EVERETT
Venue: Turner Field in Atlanta
Home Runs: 12 (6 in 1st round; 6 in 2nd round)
It makes sense that Everett's lone Derby appearance came in the year he set a career-high with 34 home runs. Everett joined Mo Vaughn as the second player to advance to the semifinals in a Boston uniform, though he fell short of eventual champion Sammy Sosa of the Cubs.
2004: DAVID ORTIZ
Venue: Minute Maid Park in Houston
Home Runs: 3
Why was 2004 a memorable year for Red Sox fans? Well, because it was the first of Big Papi's five Home Run Derby appearances! Ortiz failed to advance past the first round, but something tells us that he'd still take that 2004 season over Derby champion Miguel Tejada's.
2005: DAVID ORTIZ
Venue: Comerica Park in Detroit
Home Runs: 20 (17 in 1st round, 3 in 2nd round)
The 2005 Derby was particularly special for its participants, all of whom represented their home country. Big Papi made sure to make the Dominican Republic proud, crushing 17 home runs in the first round which would have been the record for a round if Bobby Abreu of the Phillies didn't crush 24 that same night. Alas, Ortiz put on a show and advanced to the semis, but Abreu came out on top with a then-record 41 total home runs.
2006: DAVID ORTIZ
Venue: PNC Park in Pittsburgh
Home Runs: 13
Big Papi managed to move on to the semifinals for the second consecutive year, but fell short once again. His 13 home runs were good four fourth place and ten behind champion Ryan Howard of the Phillies, but as time would tell, Ortiz was still just getting warmed up.
2010: DAVID ORTIZ
Venue: Angel Stadium in Anaheim
Home Runs: 32
Ortiz took a three-year hiatus from the event and clearly the extra rest paid off. Unlike his first three appearances, Big Papi was able to sustain his prowess through the event and set a then-record with 11 home runs in the final round. Ortiz remains the only Boston player to win the Derby and his final round performance to take down Hanley Ramirez was just another page in the legend of Big Papi.
2011: DAVID ORTIZ, ADRIAN GONZALEZ
Venue: Chase Field in Phoenix
Home Runs: Gonzalez- 31 (9 in 1st round, 11 in 2nd round, 11 in final round); Ortiz- 9 (5 in 1st round, 4 in 2nd round)
Finish: Gonzalez- 2nd; Ortiz- T-3rd
2011 was the only time two Boston teammates competed in the Home Run Derby together and the two lefty sluggers did not disappoint. In Ortiz's final Derby appearance, he made it past the first round before coming up short in the semis. On the other hand, Gonzalez made the most of his only Home Run Derby by launching 31 dingers and advancing all the way to the finals. Gonzalez tied Ortiz's final round record with 11 home runs, but it wasn't good enough as the Yankees' Robinson Cano followed with 12 of his own to take the crown.