On 18 different occasions there has been a contestant who didn't hit a single home run. A list made up of those names would be no fun, and quite frankly, it would make no sense.
Guys like Gary Gaetti, Brandon Inge and Chris Sabo had no business being part of a Home Run Derby in the first place, so I didn't bother including them on this list.
This list represents 10 players who came into a derby with at least some expectation to succeed—while they all ended up failing miserably.
14 teams have never claimed a Derby champion throughout the years. They are: Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Miami, San Diego, Washington, Los Angeles (NL), Cleveland, Colorado, Detroit, Atlanta, Toronto, Houston, St. Louis, and Kansas City. Six of those teams have a shot in this years Derby (Miami:Stanton; LA:Kemp; Colorado:CarGo; Detroit:Fielder; Toronto:Bautista; and StL:Beltran).
Sammy Sosa currently owns the longest Home Run Derby shot in history at 528 feet, and I have a feeling that Harper could challenge that mark if he participates.
For the second year in a row, the MLB is letting players pick the rosters for the Home Run Derby. Last year, Prince Fielder and David Ortiz were captains. This year Robinson Cano, who won the 2011 Home Run Derby, is the captain of the American League and Matt Kemp will have the duties of selecting who will represent the National League in the derby.
Robinson Cano: Obviously the team captain and defending derby champion is going to be in the derby. Cano had one of the legendary closing rounds in Home Run Derby history. Adrian Gonzalez hit 11 home runs in the final round of the derby. Normally, you hit that many it’s a shoo-in that you will win. Cano came out and smacked 12 home runs with four outs to spare in the final round, which was the most in the final round in Home Run Derby history. The victory by Cano last year was even sweeter because it was Cano’s father pitching to him throughout the derby and watching his son smack homer after homer.
Cal Ripken Jr. 1991: In 1991, the derby was extended to three rounds, with 10 outs per round, for the first time. Ripken smoked the field by hitting 12 home runs, his nearest challenger had five. The derby at SkyDome was not short on boppers, including Joe Carter, Cecil Fielder, and George Bell, but Ripken stole the show. He would go on to homer in the game the following night as well.
The first 26 Derbies have given us 212 hitters pounding 1,543 majestic home runs, 22 different outright winners, four co-winners (back in the olden days), just one repeat winner (Kenneth Griffey Jr.) and, in case you hadn't noticed, countless hours of ESPN Classic programming from the overstuffed Derby vault.
The best thing about Monday's All-Star Game Circus -- also known as the Home Run Derby -- in Kansas City is that Josh Hamilton, of all people, has made one of the smartest decisions of his life: He's skipping it.
Of course, we all know that Hamilton hasn't always done the smart thing and perhaps if he hadn't already "been there, done that," if he hadn't already posted the most spectacular round in Home Run Derby history a few years ago, his thinking this time around would be different.
It was the last great homer show in the old Yankee Stadium. And it forever transformed Josh Hamilton into a magical baseball figure. OK, so officially, he may not have "won" this Derby (Justin Morneau did). But when Hamilton launched 28 home runs in one round, he deposited a Derby performance in our memory banks that ranks above all the others.
Before he reached the batter's box, only one man (Bobby Abreu) had ever hit 28 combined homers. Then Hamilton got rolling. He hit a home run on 13 swings in a row. And 16 of 17. And 20 of 22. And 22 of 25. He crushed five balls into the upper deck. He pounded another off the facing of the mezzanine, and two more into the seemingly unreachable black seats in center. And he mashed three 500-footers, including a 518-foot space shuttle that might have hit the Statue of Liberty if the top of the third deck hadn't gotten in the way.
Twenty-five years ago, Dave Parker was the first Home Run Derby champion, belting six home runs to defeat a field that included Jim Rice and future Hall of Famers Eddie Murray, Carlton Fisk, Cal Ripken Jr., and Ryne Sandberg at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Since 1985, the Home Run Derby has provided some of the greatest moments in baseball history. If I write about all of them now, you will not have anything to read about.