‘Demons’ have hampered some great careers

Josh Hamilton“People are not going to understand; I’ll share more later. It’s out there that my marriage is falling apart and people are trying to figure out what’s going on, but it’s nobody’s business. When I want you to know, I’ll let you know.” Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers outfielder

The Ranger’s veteran All-Star is adamant. He doesn’t want to get into details about his private life, the personal “demons” which haunt him daily. That could be because he wants to focus on trying to win baseball games. It may be due to the fact, however, that doesn’t know what dastardly evils are fighting for control over him…

I admit, when word came early this Spring that Josh Hamilton had “slipped,” admitting to getting drunk fr the first time in a good while, I worried for him. Sure, baseball concerns were in that mix, but also because it’s hard to watch anyone, famous or not, struggle with devilish “addictions.”

My mind immediately flashes back to the trials of a number of baseball greats. But one player in particular stick in my mind…Mr. Darryl Strawberry. He was an  exceptional player for the first half of his career, until substance abuse, that nasty and unforgiving task master, finally won out over both the player and the man.

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2012 MLB All-Star rosters by jersey sales

With the National League defeating the American League in last night’s MLB All-Star game, it had Fanatics.com thinking, “What would have last night’s rosters have been based off of jersey sales alone?

Fanatics.com, a leading online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise, is happy to provide theFanatics.com 2012 MLB All-Star Jersey Rosters:

Top Selling AL/NL Players in the 2012 All-Star Game by Pitcher, Reserve or Starter:

Top Selling MLB Players:

1.       Jeter (outselling Freese by 20%)

2.       Freese (outselling Jones by 25%)

3.       Chipper Jones (outselling Hamilton by 18%)

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Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton hits 4 homers, sets record

Josh Hamilton

The Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton had his name placed in Major League Baseball’s history book on May 8 when he tied one record and set a new one. Hamilton hit four home runs in the Rangers 10-3 road win over the Baltimore Orioles, becoming just the 16th major-leaguer to do so. All four of them were two-run homers, giving him a career-high eight RBIs on the night.

It’s quite a turnaround for the 30-year-old Hamilton. He was drafted by Tampa Bay back in 1999 with their first-round pick, but his career went off the rails when he became addicted to alcohol and drugs. He returned to baseball with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007 and was then dealt to the Rangers. Hamilton showed just how he good is when joining Texas and was named the American League’s most valuable player in 2010, while still trying to fight his demons.

Hamilton, a four-time all-star, is off to another great season and went five for five against Baltimore and set a new MLB record by gaining 18 total bases on his four home runs and a double. After the game, Hamilton said he’s messed up his life quite a bit, but thanks God that he’s been able to stay on the right track with his help. The outfielder said it’s amazing that he’s been able to come back from everything he’s been through to play at this level.

And he’s definitely playing at an elite level these days as he had a .406 batting average on May 9 and was leading the majors in home runs with 13 and in RBIs with 36. Against the Orioles, he upped his playing to an even higher level. Hamilton hit home runs off of Orioles’ pitcher Jake Arrieta in the opening inning and again in the third. He belted a Zach Phillips pitch into the bleachers in the seventh inning and then capped off the night by hitting his fourth dinger against pitcher Darren O’Day in the eighth.

Ron Washington, the Rangers’ manager, said Hamilton showed just what he’s capable of doing when he’s in the right frame of mind and is focused on baseball. Hamilton said when something incredible like this happens it takes some time for it to sink in. He added that he might appreciate the feat even more after he’s had some time to himself.

The last time a major-leaguer cranked out four home runs in a game came back in 2003 when Toronto Blue Jay Carlos Delgado did it in a game against Tampa Bay. Hamilton said when he went to bat in the eighth inning he though a fourth homer would be great, but even if he struck out he’d already had a decent night with three of them.

O’Day said he delivered the worst pitch of his career when Hamilton connected for the fourth home run since he had him down in the count 0-2. He said he pitched the ball right down the middle of the plate and would certainly like to have the pitch back. However, he said he can’t say enough about the game Hamilton had.

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