Monday, July 11, 2011

How have Twins fared in the Home Run Derby?

Robinson Cano was able to out-slug the competition to win the 2011 Home Run Derby in Phoenix on Monday night. The Twins did not have a representative in this year's competition but there have been plenty of Twins that have competed during the history of the event.

The first All-Star Game Home Run Derby was held in front of the fans of Minnesota at the Metrodome in 1985. The Twins were represented in that game by Tom Brunansky and the team has been represented five other times since that year. There have been some rough outings from Twins players but one player that was able to take home the hardware at the end of the night

Here is how each of those players fared in the most famous long-ball contest:

1985 All-Star Game: The Metrodome, Minneapolis
Twins Player: Tom Brunansky
Brunansky used his manager Tom Kelly to pitch to him in front of the hometown crowd and he was able to keep pace with the other American League players. He tied for the lead in the AL with huge stars like Jim Rice, Eddie Murray, and Carlton Fisk. The four home runs these players hit were not enough to match the six that were hit by Dave Parker of the Cincinnati Reds.

1989 All-Star Game: Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim
Twins Player: Gary Gaetti
The previous year's Home Run Derby had to be canceled due to rain. Fans were looking for balls to be flying off of the bats of players like Bo Jackson and Ruben Sierra. The confines of Anaheim Stadium seemed to hold balls in during this derby. The leaders for the AL and NL, Eric Davis and Ruben Sierra, only managed three home runs apiece. Gary Gaetti was the only player to be held without a home run in this year's competition.

2002 All-Star Game: Miller Park, Milwaukee
Twins Player: Torii Hunter
Hunter is more remembered for his ability to rob home runs than his ability to hit them over the fence. In the actual All-Star Game, Hunter would famously rob a home run from Barry Bonds. The Home Run Derby did not provide the same kind of memorable moment for Hunter. He finished the first round with three home runs and he did not advance. Hunter did finish ahead of Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, and Lance Berkman. The champion this season would be Jason Giambi of the Yankees. 

2007 All-Star Game: AT&T Park, San Francisco
Twins Player: Justin Morneau
This year was the first of two consecutive appearances in the Home Run Derby for Justin Morneau. Morneau finished the first round in a tie with Albert Pujols for the final spot in the second round. Pujols was able to win the swing-off by a score of 2-1 and Morneau was eliminated. The experience that Morneau gained from this derby payed off in the next competition. Vladamir Guerrero defeated Alex Rios in the final round by a score of 3-2.

2008 All-Star Game: Yankee Stadium, New York
Twins Player: Justin Morneau
The story on this night was the amount of home runs that Josh Hamilton was able to knock out of the park in the first round. He hit a Home Run Derby Record 28 home runs in the first round and it was a spectacle to behold. Morneau paced himself a little bit more throughout the competition and this paid off in the end. Hamilton only managed four home runs in the semifinals and three home runs in the finals against Morneau. The Twins had their first Home Run Derby Champion with the five home runs that Morneau slugged in the Finals.

2009 All-Star Game: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Twins Player: Joe Mauer
For the second time in three seasons, a Twins player found themselves in a swing-off to escape the first round. Joe Mauer was tied with Albert Pujols and Carlos Pena after each of the players hit five home runs. The swing-off did not go so well for Mr. Mauer as he failed to hit one out of the park in his five swings. Pujols hit two out to advance to the second round ahead of Pena and Mauer. The winner on this night would be Prince Fielder who was one of the captains in tonight's contest.

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