Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Derby history: Looking back at past slugfests

MLB.com

Since 1985, many of Major League Baseball's most prolific home run hitters have competed on the All-Star stage in the Home Run Derby. Below is a look at the history of baseball's annual slugfest, which has undergone a number of format changes throughout its 30-plus years.

2018: Nationals Park
Winner: Bryce Harper, Nationals
Runner-up: Kyle Schwarber, Cubs

Since 1985, many of Major League Baseball's most prolific home run hitters have competed on the All-Star stage in the Home Run Derby. Below is a look at the history of baseball's annual slugfest, which has undergone a number of format changes throughout its 30-plus years.

2018: Nationals Park
Winner: Bryce Harper, Nationals
Runner-up: Kyle Schwarber, Cubs

Fans had been begging for Harper to take part in the Derby since he first did in 2013, and the slugger did not disappoint in his first time back. After Schwarber set a bar of 18 homers in the final round, hometown star Harper cranked nine home runs in the final 50 seconds of regulation to pull even, eventually winning on the second swing of his bonus 30 seconds. Harper, the third participant in Derby history to win on his home turf, hit a 478-foot drive in the final round that was shorter than only one homer on the night -- a 479-foot shot from Javier Baez in the first round.

Video: HRD Rd3: Harper wins HR Derby on 19th homer in Final

2017: Marlins Park
Winner: Aaron Judge, Yankees
Runner-up: Miguel Sano, Twins

Judge, who set a new rookie home run record in 2017 (52), easily bested Sano in the finals and crushed four home runs further than 500 feet. He became the fourth Yankees player to win the derby, giving the New York franchise more winners than any other club. This year marked the first live Derby broadcast that did not feature ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman.

2016: Petco Park
Winner: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Runner-up: Todd Frazier, White Sox

Stanton peppered Petco Park with baseballs en route to a Derby-record 61 homers. He logged the 10 longest home runs of the night, as well as the 20 hardest-hit blasts, topping out at 120.4 mph, per Statcast™.

Video: Statcast™: Stanton's Home Run Derby Showcase

2015: Great American Ball Park
Winner: Todd Frazier, Reds
Runner-up: Joc Pederson, Dodgers

Before a home crowd in Cincinnati, Frazier edged past Dodgers rookie Pederson, 15-14, in the final round. This Derby marked the debut of timed rounds with bonuses for distance.

2014: Target Field
Winner: Yoenis Cespedes, A's
Runner-up: Todd Frazier, Reds

Cespedes joined Griffey Jr. as the only Derby contestants to successfully defend their titles, winning for a second consecutive year by defeating Frazier, 9-1, in the final. His 28 total homers were double the next closest slugger (Jose Bautista, 14).

Video: HRD Rd 3: Cespedes defends Derby title in Final Round

2013: Citi Field
Winner: Yoenis Cespedes, A's
Runner-up: Bryce Harper, Nationals

Cespedes captured his first Derby crown in his second Major League season since defecting from Cuba. He became the first non-All-Star to win the event. 

2012: Kauffman Stadium
Winner: Prince Fielder, Tigers
Runner-up: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

Fielder became the Tigers' first and only Derby winner with his second victory in 2012. He's also the only Derby participant to win in both the American and National Leagues, or for multiple teams, for that matter.

2011: Chase Field
Winner: Robinson Cano, Yankees
Runner-up: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

Cano closely outhit Gonzalez, who was representing the rival Red Sox, with a 12-11 victory in the final round at Chase Field. His father, former Major Leaguer Jose Cano, pitched to him.

2010: Angel Stadium
Winner: David Ortiz, Red Sox
Runner-up: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins

Ortiz defeated his former and future Boston teammate Ramirez in the 2010 Derby, dedicating the victory to the late Dominican Republic native Jose Lima, a former Major League pitcher who passed away earlier that season.

2009: Busch Stadium
Winner: Prince Fielder, Brewers
Runner-up: Nelson Cruz, Rangers

Fielder joined his father as the second member of his family to compete in the Derby, but he did something the elder Fielder never accomplished -- he won it. They're the first and only father-son duo to ever participate.

2008: Yankee Stadium
Winner: Justin Morneau, Twins
Runner-up: Josh Hamilton, Rangers

While Morneau took home the night's top prize, Hamilton stole the show by belting a first-round record 28 home runs, including a run of 13 on consecutive swings. Only one player had ever hit that many in a full Derby before (Bobby Abreu, 41 in 2005).

Video: Hamilton hits one 502 feet in the first round

2007: AT&T Park
Winner: Vladimir Guerrero, Angels
Runner-up: Alex Rios, Blue Jays

Guerrero took home his first Derby victory by hitting 17 homers and defeating the Blue Jays' Rios in the final. Despite fans packing into McCovey Cove outside the Giants' home ballpark in kayaks and rafts, none of the participants hit a "splash hit".

2006: PNC Park
Winner: Ryan Howard, Phillies
Runner-up: David Wright, Mets

Howard dropped six balls into the Allegheny River -- four on the fly, two on the bounce -- en route to a Derby victory. This year's competition shook up the rule book with players posting the highest totals across Rounds 1 and 2 advancing to the finals, rather than resetting the tally each round like in previous years.

2005: Comerica Park
Winner: Bobby Abreu, Venezuela (Phillies)
Runner-up: Ivan Rodriguez, Puero Rico (Tigers)

Abreu never hit more than 31 home runs in a season, but he topped that in one night, establishing new records with 41 total homers and a 24-homer first round for his native Venezuela. The eight players represented their home countries in 2005 as part of a promotion for the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

Video: Bobby Abreu sets record at the Home Run Derby

2004: Minute Maid Park
Winner: Miguel Tejada, Orioles
Runner-up: Lance Berkman, Astros

On a night in which all three active members of the 500-home run club participated -- Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds -- in addition to two more future members (Jim Thome and David Ortiz), it was Berkman and Tejada who shined, dueling to an eventual Tejada win at Minute Maid Park. Tejada slugged a then-record 27 homers, which would hold for just one season before Abreu shattered his mark.

2003: U.S. Cellular Field
Winner: Garret Anderson, Angels
Runner-up: Albert Pujols, Cardinals

Pujols and the Yankees' Jason Giambi each lit up the scoreboard in the first two rounds, but Pujols was bested by Anderson, 9-8, in a dramatic final round in Chicago's South Side. Anderson later became the second player to win the Derby and be named Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game.

2002: Miller Park
Winner: Jason Giambi, Yankees
Runner-up: Sammy Sosa, Cubs

Sosa out-hit the field with 12 homers in Round 1, but he ran out of gas in the finals, losing 7-1 to Giambi in Milwaukee.

2001: Safeco Field
Winner: Luis Gonzalez, D-backs
Runner-up: Sammy Sosa, Cubs

Giambi hit a then-record 14 home runs in the first round, but couldn't keep pace with Gonzalez, whose six homers in the final round clinched it.

2000: Turner Field
Winner: Sammy Sosa, Cubs
Runner-up: Ken Griffey Jr., Reds

Making the second of five Derby appearances, Sosa came away with his only win in 2000. This year's event established a four players per league format.

1999: Fenway Park
Winner: Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners
Runner-up: Jeromy Burnitz, Brewers

Griffey won his second consecutive Derby crown and third overall. McGwire impressed, clubbing 13 home runs in the first round and tying Griffey with 16 total, but was eliminated in the second round by Burnitz.

1998: Coors Field
Winner: Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners
Runner-up: Jim Thome, Indians

The 1998 Derby marked the first live telecast of the event, as fans tuned in to see Griffey win his second trophy. Griffey almost didn't participate, but he was booed in batting practice the day prior and ultimately changed his mind.

Video: Ken Griffey Jr. beats Thome for Home Run Derby crown

1997: Jacobs Field
Winner: Tino Martinez, Yankees
Runner-up: Larry Walker, Rockies

Martinez surprised by outlasting decorated sluggers such as Frank Thomas, McGwire, Griffey and Walker to become the first Yankees player to win the Derby. This year featured six representatives from the AL and four from the NL.

1996: Veterans Stadium
Winner: Barry Bonds, Giants
Runner-up: Mark McGwire, A's

Fans were treated to a three-round showdown between two of baseball's most prolific home run hitters when Bonds defeated McGwire in the 1996 contest, which featured an expanded 10-player field. Bonds trailed by two homers with one out left in the finals, then homered on three straight swings for the win.

1995: The Ballpark in Arlington
Winner: Frank Thomas, White Sox
Runner-up: Albert Belle, Indians

The AL dominated for a fifth consecutive contest in 1995, slugging 21 homers to the NL's nine, and Thomas took the top prize in a tight race with Belle. Thomas is one of three players (also, Anderson and Cal Ripken Jr.) to win the Derby and homer in the All-Star Game.

1994: Three Rivers Stadium
Winner: Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners
Runner-up: Fred McGriff, Braves

Thomas launched a 519-foot homer that reached the upper deck in center field, and Griffey won his first of three Derby crowns in the 1994 contest.

1993: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Winner: Juan Gonzalez, Rangers
Runner-up: Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners

Griffey became the first player to hit the B&O Warehouse across Eutaw Street from Camden Yards, but Gonzalez won the Derby, defeating Griffey in a sudden-death swing-off. The event was first televised in 1993 on tape delay.

1992: Jack Murphy Stadium
Winner: Mark McGwire, A's
Runner-up: Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners

McGwire, who would eventually set a new single-season home run record with 70 in 1998, won his first and only Derby in '92. 

1991: SkyDome
Winner: Cal Ripken Jr., Orioles
Runner-up: Paul O'Neill, Reds

The Derby expanded to a three-round format in 1991, where players had 10 outs to hit as many home runs as they could with the top four advancing to Round 2 and the top two squaring off in the final. Ripken won the Derby in the midst of his AL MVP Award-winning campaign. He was the first player to win the Derby and the All-Star MVP, as well as the first Derby winner to also homer in the All-Star Game.

1990: Wrigley Field
Winner: Ryne Sandberg, Cubs
Runners-up: Mark McGwire, A's; Matt Williams, Giants

The 1990 Derby was a subdued affair, with the eight-player field combing to hit just five homers throughout the contest. The Cubs' Sandberg won with three in front of a friendly crowd at Wrigley Field. Griffey made the first of his record eight Derby appearances in '90. From 1985-90, the Derby's eight to 10 contestants were given two innings of five outs to hit as many home runs as possible for their respective leagues.

Video: Sandberg and Frazier win Home Run Derby on home field

1989: Anaheim Stadium
Winner: Ruben Sierra, Rangers; Eric Davis, Reds
Runners-up: Glenn Davis, Astros; Howard Johnson, Mets; Kevin Mitchell, Giants

Sierra and Davis split the prize in 1989 with three home runs each for their respective leagues, with a trio of sluggers tying for second.

1988: Riverfront Stadium

Canceled due to rain

1987: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Winner: Andre Dawson, Cubs
Runner-up: Ozzie Virgil, Braves

Dawson went deep four times, accounting for half the home runs hit by the field of four. Virgil came in second with two long balls.

1986: Astrodome
Winners: Wally Joyner, Angels; Darryl Strawberry, Mets
Runner-up: Dave Parker, Reds

Strawberry and Joyner led the way with four jacks each, and the NL won, 8-7, thanks to Parker's runner-up three homers.

1985: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Winner: Dave Parker, Reds
Runner-up: Five players tied at four

Seven-time All-Star Parker emerged from a 10-player field that included four future Hall of Famers -- Jim Rice, Eddie Murray, Carlton Fisk and Sandberg -- to win the inaugural Home Run Derby with six homers.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.