Josh Hamilton’s home run derby and more

Josh Hamilton’s home run derby and more

Josh Hamilton’s home run derby and more

The Texas Rangers’ All-Star Game history got off to as inauspicious a start as the franchise on the field. In their first year in Texas, they didn’t even have a representative in the game. Toby Harrah was named as their representative. He was injured. No one thought it was necessary for him to be replaced with another Ranger.

Over the next 50 years, they made up for it.

Three MVPs. Two game-winning pitchers. Two saves. Five home runs. And perhaps the greatest Home Run Derby round ever. It may be a mere exhibition, but the Rangers have had one hell of a run. Here’s a look at the Rangers’ top five All-Star performances:

How the MLB All-Star experience has grown exponentially since the last visit to Arlington in 1995

Josh Hamilton conquers New York in 2008

Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton hits a ball during the Major League Baseball All-Star Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium in New York on Monday, July 14, 2008. Hamilton hit a record 28 home runs in the first round.(KATHY WILLENS/AP)

The most memorable moment in Rangers All-Star Game history occurred not during the game, but during the Home Run Derby. In what became the most-watched Home Run Derby in history, Josh Hamilton took his baseball renaissance to new heights on the biggest stage. In the last All-Star Game to be played at the original Yankee Stadium, he hit a record 28 home runs in the first round.

According to the ESPN broadcast, he hit several balls more than 500 feet away and sent a handful more into the upper deck in right field. He had the entire Yankee Stadium, and 10 million viewers at home, under his control.

The final round, in which Minnesota’s Justin Morneau outhomered an exhausted Hamilton 5-3, was disappointing. The performance will not only go down in history as a great memory of the Rangers’ All-Star Game, but perhaps as one of the most exciting performances of All-Star week.

Was Josh Hamilton’s incredible home run derby the greatest All-Star moment in Rangers history?

Michael Young wins 2006 MVP award

Until his and the American League’s final strike, Young lined an 0-2 fastball from Trevor Hoffman into the right-field alley for a two-run triple with two outs in the top of the ninth to give the American League a 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh and become the third Ranger to win All-Star Game MVP. Young had the game-winning RBI in two All-Star Games. He also had a walk-off sacrifice fly in 2008. Young, Alfonso Soriano (2004) and Julio Franco (1990) are the three Rangers to win All-Star Game MVP. Young, Soriano and Ruben Sierra are tied for the club record for RBIs in the All-Star Game with three each.

5 memorable moments from the 1995 MLB All-Star Game, the Home Run Derby in Arlington

Nolan Ryan takes the win, 1989

Texas Rangers veteran Nolan Ryan takes the bait as he throws one of his 35 pitches at the plate Tuesday night, July 12, 1989, en route to an American League victory in the 60th All-Star Game at Anaheim Stadium. The 42-year-old became the oldest pitcher to win an All-Star Game, and the American League earned its second straight All-Star win, 5-3. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)(1989 AP)

Ryanmania in Arlington was just beginning to heat up. The countdown to 5,000 strikeouts was on, as was the race to 300 strikeouts. No-hitters six and seven weren’t even figments of the imagination yet.

But at age 42, Ryan came on in relief of starter Dave Stewart and proceeded to strike out three in two scoreless innings at Angels Stadium, which had been his home stadium for a decade. It was his first appearance as a pitcher there since leaving for the Astros in 1980.

Ryan struck out Benito Santiago, Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell and ended up being credited with the win. It would be his final All-Star appearance.

Julio Franco wins the MVP, 1990:

At Wrigley Field, Franco drove in the game’s only runs with a seventh-inning double off Cincinnati closer Rob Dibble of the “Nasty Boys.” The first two batters of the seventh inning reached base off reliever Jeff Brantley, bringing Franco up for a second time. Because the game was being played under National League rules, he had entered as a pinch hitter in place of Dave Stieb in the top of the fifth. His double accounted for the only runs in a 2-0 American League victory.

Hank Blalock turns around with Eric Gagné, 2003

At what was then U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Blalock hit a two-run homer, with two outs, in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter in his first All-Star Game at-bat off eventual Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagné. Blalock moved ahead 3-1, then lined a pitch to right-center field to score Arlington’s Vernon Wells and give the American League a 6-5 lead. One could argue that Blalock deserved the MVP for that swing, though Angels outfielder Garret Anderson won it for getting three hits and driving in a pair of runs. The following year was also symbolically important, though Blalock went 0-for-2 in the game. He had come in as a pinch hitter, replacing Alex Rodriguez, who had left the Rangers for the Yankees earlier that season.

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