The 2018 MLB Home Run Derby will be held Monday night, July 16th at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. Let’s look back at a time when the San Diego Padres had participants in the event.
As a diehard baseball fan, this year’s MLB Home Run Derby field is a fun collection of youthful talent that much of the baseball world (outside of their respective markets) has yet to experience. For the average baseball fan, this year’s derby may be a little underwhelming (other than Bryce Harper).
Below is the complete bracket for the 2018 Home Run Derby, to be held tonight at 8 pm EST on ESPN.
Jesus Aguilar, the top seed in the derby, enters with the most home runs among participants in the field with 24. Bryce Harper enters the contest with 23 and all the attention as the hometown hero. Every participant, outside of Harper, is a first-time participant with everyone but Alex Bregman coming from a National League team. I have many unpopular opinions about the derby, however, having seven NL hitters seems to defeat the spirit of the weekend (AL vs NL).
Here’s my prediction breakdown:
2nd Round: Bregman d. Aguilar
Muncy d. Harper
2018 Home Run Derby Champion: Alex Bregman (meaning he will be knocked out in the first round because my pick for the champion has been ousted in the first round each of the last four seasons).
San Diego Padres experience in the Home Run Derby.
Since its inception in 1985, the San Diego Padres have had just five players appear in the MLB Home Run Derby, none of them brought the championship back home to Petco Park. In fact, San Diego is one of 12 franchises that have yet to have a derby champion.
In 1992, the stadium once known as Jack Murphy Stadium hosted the event, with current Padres bench coach Mark McGwire taking the crown as a member of the Oakland Athletics. Twenty-four years later, Petco Park played host to an unforgettable derby that saw a record 61 home runs hit by the eventual champion, Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton hit 24 in the first round, then took down Mark Trumbo 17-14, and finally beat out Todd Frazier 20-13 in the championship round.
1985- Steve Garvey
As for individual players in the derby, the list is small and has been largely unsuccessful. Five-year Padre veteran Steve Garvey appeared in the inaugural home run derby in 1985. His two home runs fell four shy of the champion, Dave Parker. Dale Murphy (4), Ryne Sandberg (2), and Jack Clark (2) all joined Garvey in representing the National League
Held at the Metrodome in Minneapolis with an admission price of just $2, Garvey was asked to participate in the derby that morning,
“I said, ‘Oh sure!’ I had done them before here and there and learned to how to be successful, and I thought this would be fun,” he says. “It didn’t take a long time to do. It wasn’t made for TV. Now they get three hours of advertising out of it, but this had its own little energy. Even long outs at the warning track would bring a big response from the people. It was phenomenal.”
The Padres would go nearly a decade before having another participant, sending two in 1992. Neither Gary Sheffield nor Fred McGriff made it past the 1993 season with the Padres, however, both combined for 68 home runs in Friar uniform in 1992, winning Silver Sluggers, participating in the All-Star game, and finishing among the top vote-getters of the Most Valuable Player award.
The 1992 Home Run Derby was held at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego and featured some of the biggest names in baseball (back when star-players competed in the contest). Mark McGuire and his 12 home runs won the derby, while Ken Griffey Jr., Joe Carter, and Cal Ripken posted seven, four, and four home runs, respectively, for the American league.
2009- Adrian Gonzalez
More from Friars on Base
Adrian Gonzalez put together a few eye-popping seasons as a Padre between 2006 and 2010. In his five seasons in San Diego, Gonzalez hit 161 home runs with 176 doubles, a .288 batting average, and a .374 OBP. In 2009, he made one of his three All-Star appearances with the Padres, hitting a career-high 40 home runs in 160 games.
His trip to Busch Stadium for the 2009 Home Run Derby was a completely different story. In front of the largest tv crowd the derby had seen (up until that point), Gonzalez failed to make it out of the first round, hitting just two home runs and finishing above only Brandon Inge of the Tigers, who hit zero.
2016- Wil Myers
In front of his hometown fans at Petco Park, Wil Myers represented San Diego in the 2016 Home Run Derby, hitting more home runs than any other Padre to ever participate.
Myers was seeded 6th and faced off against Cincinnati Reds slugger Adam Duvall in the first round. Unfortunately, his 10 home runs were not enough to advance to the second round. The most memorable moment of Myers’ experience may have been when his brother plunked him with a pitch.
Duvall’s 11 fence-clearing knocks earned him a matchup against Chicago White Sox participant, Todd Frazier, who would eventually fall in the championship round to a record-breaking performance.
The story of 2016 was the record 61 home runs hit by then-Miami Marlins star, Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton hit 24 in the first round, 17 in the second round, and 20 in the championship round to take home the title.
Tonight’s derby doesn’t have the star power, or anyone from the San Diego Padres, however, it’s still an event that draws the eyes of many fans across the globe. It’s hard to knock anything that makes the game more attractive to young fans who are mesmerized by the long-ball.