Sports 56 WHBlog Q

July 10, 2008

Why Josh Hamilton is My Favorite Baseball Player

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Will Askew @ 12:16 pm

Josh Hamilton is my favorite baseball player.

It’s not because he is a phenomenal talent, although he is–he leads the major leagues in RBIs, has hit 20 homers including a two-run walkoff shot off of the best closer in the game last night, and is hitting over .300. It’s because he was a crack addict.

Josh Hamilton was the #1 overall pick in the MLB Draft back in 1999 ahead of Josh Beckett, Barry Zito, Ben Sheets, and Brian Roberts. He was a blue chip prospect until injuries and drug addiction derailed his career. He didn’t play baseball from 2002 until 2006. Last year, he played with the Cincinatti Reds, and then was traded to the Texas Rangers, where this season he is playing MVP-caliber ball.

There are a lot of similarities between Josh Hamilton and Roy Hobbs. Josh Hamilton hit .556 his senior year of high school and was 7-1 with a 96 mph fastball. He was the Natural. Then, much like Roy Hobbs, his career took a tragic turn. Hobbs was shot. Hamilton was addicted to crack. Both came back.

To understand the depths to which Josh Hamilton sank, you need to read the article he wrote in ESPN the Magazine last year. To sink as far as he sunk and to return as spectacularly as he has is simply remarkable.

The tattoo sleeves on his arms serve as a constant reminder to Josh Hamilton of where he was a couple of years ago. He’s a beacon for everyone battling adversity in their lives–hey, if he can battle back from that, then my problems don’t seem so bad. Here’s hoping he sticks around a long, long time.

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