The Gillette Home Run Derby

The Home Run Derby is an event that started in 1985 during the All-Star break to showcase power hitter’s ability to crush home runs in a competition outside of the normal play of baseball. It is one of my most favorite things about baseball because who does not love watching home runs?

In the last two home run derbies, the Orioles have had a participant in both: Chris Davis in 2013 and Adam Jones in 2014. This year, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will represent the Orioles in the derby for the first time in his career. It will be the 12th derby an Oriole will participate in.

What I will be going over is how the Orioles in the derby did in their tournament and then how well they did in the 2nd half of their season.

First up, from the first ever Home Run Derby in 1985: Cal Ripken, Jr. and Eddie Murray.

In the Derby, Murray hit a total of four home runs while Ripken hit only one. Dave Parker from the Cincinnati Reds won the Derby with six home runs. Time truly have changed.

In the 2nd half of the season, Ripken slashed .282/.352/.465 with 11 home runs, 50 RBI’s, 31 strikeouts and 33 walks. As for Murray, he had a better 2nd half than Ripken by slashing .321/.413/.586 with 18 home runs, 66 RBI’s, 32 strikeouts and 46 walks.

The 1991 Home Run Derby: Cal Ripken, Jr.

Ripken ended up winning the 1991 Home Run Derby, being the first Oriole to win the competition. He hit 12 home runs during the event.

As for Ripken’s 2nd half, he slashed .299/.343/.538 with 16 home runs, 60 RBI’s, 23 strikeouts and 25 walks.

The 1992 Home Run Derby: Cal Ripken, Jr.

For the second straight year, Cal Ripken, Jr. participated in the Home Run Derby, also for the third time in his career. In the derby, he only hit four home runs.

For his second half, Ripken slashed .239/.294/.330 with 4 home runs, 32 RBI’s, 24 strikeouts and 23 walks. To this point, this is his worst post-All Star break performance.

The 1996 Home Run Derby: Brady Anderson

In the year where Brady Anderson “miraculously” hit 50 home runs, he also participated in the Home Run Derby. This was the first year where there was more than one round. Anderson made it to the 2nd round and finished with 11 home runs total.

During the 2nd half of his ’96 season, Anderson slashed .298/.388/.592 with 20 home runs, 48 RBI’s, 55 strikeouts and 30 walks.

The 1997 Home Run Derby: Brady Anderson

Following in Cal Ripken Jr.’s footsteps, Brady Anderson will compete in his 2nd consecutive home run derby. This time around, he only lasted one round and hit four home runs.

As for his 2nd half performance, he would slash .274/.361/.498 with 11 HR’s, 32 RBI’s, 49 strikeouts and 31 walks.

The 1998 Home Run Derby: Rafael Palmeiro

For the third consecutive season, the Orioles would be represented in the derby. This time, by slugger Rafael Palmeiro. Palmeiro made it to the 2nd round while hitting 10 home runs total.

During his 2nd half, he would slash .299/.381/.547 with 17 home runs, 49 RBI’s, 39 strikeouts and 37 walks.

The 1999 Home Run Derby: B.J. Surhoff

While researching information on the Home Run Derby, I learned that B.J. Surhoff once participated in it. This is the first time I am ever hearing about this. As for his performance, he lasted one round and put out two home runs.

During his 2nd half, he would slash .277/.327/.409 with 8 home runs, 36 RBI’s, 36 strikeouts and 23 walks.

The 2004 Home Run Derby: Miguel Tejada and Rafael Palmeiro.

For the first time since 1985, two Orioles would participate in the Home Run Derby. For Miguel Tejada, he ended up winning the entire thing by beating out Lance Berkman in the Final Round. As for Palmeiro, he made it to the semifinals along with Tejada, Berkman and Barry Bonds. He would lose in that round.

For Tejada’s 2nd half, he would slash .311/.363/.566 with 19 home runs, 75 RBI’s, 45 strikeouts and 23 walks. For Palmeiro, he slashed .271/.363/.462 with 10 home runs, 36 RBI’s, 34 strikeouts and 33 walks.

The 2006 Home Run Derby: Miguel Tejada

For the 2nd time in his career, Miguel Tejada would participate in the Home Run Derby. Being a former winner did not help here as Tejada would only hit three home runs in the entire competition.

During his 2nd half, he would slash .350/.402/.484 with 7 home runs, 38 RBI’s, 41 strikeouts and 21 walks.

The 2013 Home Run Derby: Chris Davis

Having 37 home runs at the All Star Break will warrant an appearance in the derby. Davis would make it to the 2nd round along with eventual winner Yoenis Cespedes, Bryce Harper and Michael Cuddyer but would be eliminated in that round.

As for Davis’ 2nd half performance, he slashed .245/.339/.515 with 16 home runs, 45 RBI’s, 89 strikeouts and 34 walks.

The 2014 Home Run Derby: Adam Jones

No offense to Adam Jones, but his name does not come up when you mention “home run hitters” today. I was surprised, but happy for Jones when I heard he was going to the derby. However, just like Davis, he could not advance past the 2nd round of competition.

As for Jones’ 2nd half, he slashed .251/.291/.444 with 13 home runs, 42 RBI’s, 64 strikeouts and just eight walks.

I am not here to say that the Derby has any influence on a player’s second half performance. On the contrary, I think it has no effect on their playing ability. As long as no injury occurs, the 2nd half stretch proves to show more fatigue from a long season than participating in the derby.

However Manny Machado will play after the derby is yet to be determined, but he is young and is most likely not as fatigued as other, more older veterans in the derby and around the league.

As for my pick to win the derby, I am going with the underdog: Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers. I think him and Kris Bryant are both making great cases to be the NL Rookie of the Year and I love the power Pederson is showing this season. He has most definitely helped Dodgers fans forget about Matt Kemp.

I wish Manny Machado the best of luck as I will be rooting for him to win it just so I can buy a shirt that says “Manny Machado, Home Run Derby Champion” because that will be fun to look back on 10-15 years from now.

I am also a fan of all the new rules they implemented this year and can not wait to see how they translate to the actual event. One thing I am not a fan of is Chris Berman yelling at me through my T.V. to let me know Josh Donaldson just hit that ball to the next county. Other than that, let the dingers commence.