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Josh Donaldson's first big league hit foretold his dinger-happy MLB career

When you think of Josh Donaldson today, you likely think of a homer-bashing MVP with a killer head of hair and some tough-man TV credits to his name: 

But that wasn't always the case. Drafted 48th overall as a catcher by the Cubs in 2007, Donaldson topped out at No. 7 in Chicago's system as ranked by Baseball America. And when he was traded to the Athletics for Rich Harden in 2008, he was listed last in the press release, with ESPN simply referring to him as a "Minor Leaguer," -- not as "promising" or "prospect" or any other terms you'd associate with a guy that would one day top 30 home runs for three straight years.

But maybe we should have known better. After all, Donaldson was making the evening news for his powerful drives on the golf course ... at just 18 months old

And he had individual games like this for the Sacramento River Cats in 2011, when he dingered, made a diving catch on a bunt and threw a runner out. There was clearly plenty of power and athleticism there (obviously) -- otherwise he wouldn't have eventually made the move to third.

In his second big league game in 2010, Donaldson connected for his first big league hit. Perhaps we should have seen this as a kind of prophecy because -- naturally -- it was a home run. Just look at that baby face light up with joy as his teammates pick him up: 


It would be his only big league home run until 2012, as Donaldson wouldn't see a day of Major League action in 2011. He was 26 the next time he reached the Majors -- not old, but a bit late for a future MVP to be establishing himself. 

From there, you know the story. Dingers. Lots of dingers.