Robinson Canó’s victory in the 2011 Home Run Derby was a true father-son affair.
Each of the 32 blasts belted by the then-Yankees slugger that evening at Arizona’s Chase Field came from the right hand of his father, Jose, who appeared in six games for the 1989 Astros and pitched professionally in the Braves and Yankees organizations.
"We were so happy to do it together," Canó said in 2012. "I always dreamed as a kid to play with my dad, or at least face my dad one time. I never got the chance. To have a great moment like that in the Derby, that was one of the favorite moments of my life."
An All-Star for the second time that year, Canó outslugged Adrián González -- then of the Red Sox -- 12 to 11 in the final round. Canó and González each belted 20 homers through the first two rounds, eliminating other stars like José Bautista, Prince Fielder, Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp, David Ortiz and Rickie Weeks.
Canó said at the time that his father frequently pitched to him during the offseason in the Dominican Republic, and when he was invited to participate in the Derby, there was only one person he could envision on the mound.
"He means everything for me, you know?” Canó said. “Everything that I know about baseball, the love that I have for the game -- he was my role model. When you're a kid, you look up to your dad. My dad always wanted me to be a baseball player. He'd always tell me, 'I know what kind of talent you are. I know what kind of player you can be.'”
The story of Canó's first name -- an enduring nod to barrier-breaking great Jackie Robinson -- has been well-examined. But Canó said that his mother, Claribel, had another idea for her son's name, and his father apparently took the paperwork into his own hands.
"He admired Jackie. My mom didn't want that name, but she was sick and had to stay a few extra days in the hospital," Canó said. "He went and did it. What can you say? You're happy to have your baby, your first child, so there's nothing you can say."
In time, Canó learned of Robinson's legacy. Now with the Mets, Canó continues to pay tribute by wearing No. 24 -- Robinson's No. 42 in reverse. Long before that, Canó said that his father made efforts to involve him with his life in the game.
"He said that when I was three days old, he took me in his arms to the field and showed me off to his teammates," Canó said.
And on that shining night in 2011, Canó returned the favor, showing off for the baseball world.