Sunday, July 13, 2008
The Cinderella Story Continues
21 Home Runs, 95 RBI, and a .310 batting average. On the freaking 13th day of July.
3,708,709 votes to start in the All-Star game, which was about 300,000 more than the second OF to get voted in; some guy named Manny Ramirez. Josh Hamilton is having himself quite the year.
I know his story has been repeated over and over on tv, magazines, and in the Interwebs, but I just can't get enough of reading about it. 2nd overall pick, crack addict, alcoholic, out of baseball and seemingly on a path that had only one final destination: Death.
But through his faith, family, and sheer will he survived. Not only did he survive, he's THRIVING in a mentally and physical grueling sport and around more temptation than an every day guy like myself can even imagine.
I was positively giddy when I received this link from my brother Matt earlier this week.
It mentions how when Hamilton was playing American Legion ball in High School, he told the guy who threw him batting practice, a baseball lifer named Clay Council, that if he ever got to the Home Run Derby he'd fly him in to pitch. Council, now 71 years old, got a phone call a few weeks ago; Josh Hamilton was on the other end, asking if he'd be willing to fly to NYC tomorrow night for the Derby.
Guys like him aren't supposed to turn out like this. From Heath Ledger to Lenny Bias to River Phoenix, history is littered with stars who had the world by the tail, only to throw it all away.
Crack addicts don't come back; they don't lead the league in RBI or start in NYC in the All-Star game or have their old batting practice coach throw to them in the Home Run Derby in The House That Ruth Built.
They don't get the world watch them tell their story, share their faith, or be the feel good sports story of the year. Usually, they end up a cautionary tale of the perils of fame for the rest of us and Happily Ever After is only found in the stories I read Rakes and Trot before they go to sleep.
Except this time?
You can find it tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium.