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|Joshua Holt Hamilton|
|Bats: Left||Throws: Left|
|Seasons with Texas: 2008|
Josh Hamilton (born May 21, 1981 in Raleigh, North Carolina) is a currently an outfielder for the Texas Rangers. He was the first overall pick in the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He was considered a Blue chip prospect until injuries and addiction derailed his career in 2001. Prior to the 2007 season, Hamilton was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft, and quickly sold to the Cincinnati Reds. He made his MLB debut in 2007, and had a successful rookie season. During the off-season he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Edinson Volquez.
Before the RangersEdit
Josh Hamilton starred for Athens Drive High School in Raleigh, North Carolina as both a pitcher and an outfielder. As a left-handed high school pitcher, Hamilton sometimes hit 96 MPH.
Hamilton, the first overall draft pick in , signed with the Devil Rays receiving a $3.96 million signing bonus, and joined their minor league system.
Prior to the 2001 season, Hamilton was involved in a car accident. His mother was also injured in the accident, and she went home with her husband to recuperate from her injuries. The 2001 season was also when he began experimenting with drugs, and made his first attempt at rehab.
At the start of the 2003 season, Hamilton showed up late several times during spring training and was reassigned to the team's minor league camp. He left the team and resurfaced several times, but eventually took the rest of the season off for personal reasons. Hamilton was hoping to return to spring training with the Devil Rays in 2004, but he was suspended 30 days and fined for violating the drug policy put in place by MLB. Because of the length of his suspension, and the terms of the drug policy, Hamilton must have failed two or more drug tests after being put into the program. A 'failed' test is a positive result for a drug more severe than marijuana. This suspension was increased several times after repeated violations of the terms of the program. In Hamilton's book, Beyond Belief, Hamilton has admitted to using cocaine.
From 2004 until 2006, Hamilton did not play baseball at all. He made several attempts at rehab, and started off the 2005 season with hopes of being reinstated by MLB. His return to baseball was helped along by Roy Silver who owns a baseball academy in Florida. After hearing about Hamilton's desire to return to baseball, Silver offered the use of his facility if Hamilton agreed to work there. After several months there, Hamilton was allowed to work out with the Devil Rays minor league players starting on June 2, 2006. By the end of the month, he was allowed to participate in minor league games. He played 15 games with the Hudson Valley Renegades at the end of the 2006 season.
Hamilton was selected third overall in the MLB portion of the 2006 Rule 5 Draft by the Chicago Cubs, as the Rays had not placed him on their 40-man roster. The Cubs then sold Hamilton to the Cincinnati Reds for $100,000 ($50,000 for his rights, and $50,000 to cover the cost of the Rule 5 selection).
In order to retain the rights to Hamilton, the Reds had to keep him on their Major League 25-man roster for the entire 2007 season. The Reds planned to use him as a fourth outfielder. Hamilton started most of the time in center field.
Hamilton made his long-awaited Major League debut on April 2 against the Chicago Cubs in a pinch-hit appearance, receiving a 22-second standing ovation. He made his first start on April 10 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, batting lead off. In that game, he recorded his first Major League hit, a home run off Edgar Gonzalez. The next night, he hit another. Hamilton was named the National League Rookie of the Month for April.
Among all NL rookies, Hamilton placed second in slugging percentage (.554), and fourth in home runs.
Texas Rangers (2008–present)Edit
On December 21, 2007, the Reds traded Hamilton to the Texas Rangers for Edinson Volquez and Danny Ray Herrera. In 2008, Hamilton locked up the Rangers starting center fielder job with a stellar spring training in which he batted .556 and drove in 13 RBIs in 14 games. His spring training performance proceeded to follow into the regular season. Hamilton, usually slotted third in the Texas batting order, led all Major League players in RBI for the month of April. He was named American League Player of the Month after hitting .330 with 32 RBI during the month. Hamilton then went on to win player of the month for the second straight month in May, becoming the first American League player in baseball history to be awarded Player of the Month for the first two months of the season. Hamilton was featured on the cover of the June 2, 2008 issue of Sports Illustrated, in a story chronicling his comeback. On July 9, 2008 Josh Hamilton hit the first walk-off home run of his career against Francisco Rodriguez.
2008 Home Run Derby/All-Star GameEdit
Fans selected Hamilton as one of the starting outfielders for the American League at the 2008 MLB All Star Game at Yankee Stadium. He finished first in voting among the outfielders to clinch his spot. He was selected to participate in the 2008 State Farm Home Run Derby the evening before the game. Hamilton selected 71-year old Clay Council to throw to him during the Derby. Council was a volunteer who threw batting practice for him as a child in Cary, NC. In the first round of the event Hamilton hit 28 home runs, breaking the single round record of 24 set by Bobby Abreu in 2005. Hamilton ended up hitting the most total home runs in the contest with 35, but lost in the final round to Justin Morneau, as the scores were reset. His record setting first round included 13 straight home runs at one point, and three that went further than 500 feet. His longest home run was 518 feet. In 2006, when Hamilton was trying to get back into baseball, he had a dream where he participated in a Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, but he could not remember how many home runs he had hit. After the Derby Hamilton said: "This, was like living the dream out, because like I've said, I didn't know the ending to that dream."
Josh Hamilton is married to Katie (Chadwick), the daughter of one of the men (Michael Chadwick) who helped him in his quest to get clean. They started dating in 2002, when Hamilton returned to Raleigh. They married in 2004 and currently have three children. They went through a period of estrangement when it became clear that Josh was using drugs again, after he got clean in 2005, he began seeing his family again.
Hamilton's struggles with drugs and alcohol are well documented in his autobiography Beyond Belief. He finally got clean after being confronted by his grandmother, Mary Holt. Hamilton says he hasn't used drugs or alcohol since October 6, 2005. He does not shy away from telling his story, speaking to community groups and fans at many different functions. He frequently and publicly tells stories of how Christianity has brought him back from the brink and that faith is what keeps him going. His wife Katie sometimes accompanies him, offering her perspective on his struggles as well.
To go along with the provisions of MLB's drug policy, Hamilton provides urine samples for drug testing at least three times per week. Rangers' coach Johnny Narron says of the frequent testing: "I think he looks forward to the tests. He knows he's an addict. He knows he has to be accountable. He looks at those tests as a way to reassure people around him who had faith." Hamilton approaches the plate at Texas Rangers home games to the song "Saved The Day" by Christian group Phillips, Craig & Dean. Josh also had help with his recovery, and with his return to Major League Baseball, from Richard Davis and his staff at Trademark Properties of Charleston, South Carolina.
- Josh Hamilton Scouting Report from Dugout Central
- "I'm proof that hope is never lost" from ESPN the Magazine (7/16/2007)
- HELL AND BACK from ESPN the Magazine (6/21/2004)
- ↑ "Texas Rangers Spring Training Statistics", ESPN.com, ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved on July 15, 2008.