The 2022 All-Star break is here and that means we get to see the game’s best on display. As part of the All-Star festivities, the 2022 Home Run Derby will take place on Monday, July 18 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The batters have been divided into a bracket, and each batter will get three minutes per round (or two minutes in the final round) to hit as many home runs as they can. Each batter will receive an additional 30 seconds of time put could make it an even minute if they hit a home run longer than 440 feet in regulation. In what is sure to be an explosive night at the plate on Monday, let’s take a look back at the best Home Run Derbys of all time.
Top 5 Home Run Derbys
No. 5 — Big Papi, Big Home Runs (2010)
Do you think the MLB slid David Ortiz some thank-you cash for his performance? Matt Holliday, Nick Swisher, Chris Young and Vernon Wells combined only to hit 12 between them. Ortiz had to have become the crowd’s favorite player by default as he walloped a total of 32 home runs. While this wasn’t necessarily a good overall derby, Ortiz’s performance against future teammate Hanley Ramirez was still impressive to watch.
No. 4 — Bobby Abreu sets then-Home Run Derby record (2005)
The format for the Home Run Derby has changed several times as the event tries to adapt to what fans want to see. In 2005, MLB decided to go with a nationality spin on the matchups, and Abreu represented Venezuela. He had 18 home runs on the year at the time of the derby. Abreu clobbered 24 home runs in the first round, six in the second and 11 in the finals. He defeated Ivan Rodriguez, and his 41 home runs became a tournament record as the previous was 27.
No. 3 — Ken Griffey Jr. hits the B&O Warehouse (1993)
I wasn’t aware of what baseball even was when this one occurred (I was two years old), but the video of it alone is just nuts. Griffey Jr. has won the Home Run Derby a record three times, although he lost in 1993. Iconic backward hat and all, Griffey achieved something that nobody else had and hasn’t since. At the 1993 Home Run Derby at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, Griffey Jr. launched a home run that hit the B&O Warehouse that lies beyond the right field fence, in the air.
No. 2 — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. vs. Pete Alonso (2019)
Guerrero Jr. entered the 2019 Home Run Derby as the eighth overall seed, and that is probably the last time someone has underestimated him. He hit 29 home runs in the first round, a record 40 in the second and then 22 in the third. From this performance, he holds the record for home runs in a single round and home runs in a single derby.
While Guerrero Jr. put on an absolute clinic, Alonso raised the trophy at the night’s end. As the second overall seed, he hit one more home run than his opponent in each round, showing that he could’ve kept going but just did what was needed to win. Alonso went on to win the derby in 2021 and will be looking to tie the record for most derby wins with three this year. Alonso also currently holds the record for most total home runs hit in derbys with 131 ahead of Joc Pederson and his 99 home runs in second place.
No. 1 — Josh Hamilton’s first round for the ages (2008)
The top performance in a Home Run Derby has to be given to then-Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton. He had struggled with drugs and addiction and was able to overcome them to get back to playing baseball. His story was everywhere in 2008, and he made the All-Star team that year and played in the Home Run Derby. Hamilton didn’t win, but he went on to put on one of the biggest shows we have ever seen at a Derby.
He selected his childhood BP coach, the 71-year-old Clay Council, as his pitcher. Hamilton then set the first-round record of 28 home runs, including 13 in a row, which is also a record. He hit seven home runs further than 500 feet but ended up losing to Justin Morneau in the final round. Still, it remains the greatest Home Run Derby performance of all time.
The ToddFather winneth (2015)
Todd Frazier spent only five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, but the impact that he had on that franchise is still felt. In 2015, the Home Run Derby was held in his home stadium of Great American Ball Park. This field is so hitter-friendly that it is also referred to as Great American Small Park or Great American Airport. While the derby didn’t include any monster home run numbers or anything, it was still memorable. Frazier knocked out Prince Fielder and Josh Donaldson in the first two rounds and matched up with Pederson in the finals. Pederson hit 14 home runs as he was first up, and then it was ToddFather’s turn. Frazier tied it up at 14 as the matchup went into bonus time. With the first swing of the bat in bonus time, Frazier launched a line drive 15th home run. If the stadium were a dome, the roof would’ve been blown off as the hometown hero won it.