PHILADELPHIA -- Bobby Abreu made his second consecutive National League All-Star team in 2005, but he still seemed to be flying under the radar in the baseball world.
It was hard to understand, even then. Just look at Abreu’s career slash line from 1999 to 2004: .305/.412/.517.
But Abreu took center stage in the 2005 Home Run Derby at Comerica Park in Detroit. He hit a single-round-record 24 home runs in the first round, six homers in the second round and 11 in the final round to beat Iván Rodríguez in the finals and win the event.
“It’s something amazing for me,” Abreu said that night. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep.
“I was feeling great. I couldn’t believe what I was doing. Good rhythm. I was so excited. I just wanted to hit more and more. It was tough to believe.”
Baseball used an international format that night, with eight hitters representing eight countries: Abreu (Venezuela), Rodríguez (Puerto Rico), David Ortiz (Dominican Republic), Carlos Lee (Panama), Andruw Jones (Curacao), Hee-Seop Choi (South Korea), Jason Bay (Canada) and Mark Teixeira (United States).
“Philly can say they’ve got a champion now,” teammate Jimmy Rollins said with a smile. “I don’t want to hear any more excuses. They’ve got a champ.”