Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Monday, July 11, 2011

Okay, So We Kinda Suck at Home Run Derby Too

That was a real bummer, Matt Kemp’s Home Run Derby performance tonight.  I felt for the Bison who was obviously pressing and was embarrassed after starting out 0 for 9 attempts.  It was nice to see him recover enough to hit two out and not get shut out.  I remember in 1993 and 1994 that Mike Piazza was shut out in the derby.  He vowed to never participate in another one again.  A promise he kept.

Matt Kemp jumps in mock celebration after saving face after hitting a homer in tonight's Home Run Derby
Below are the numbers of Dodger participants in Home Run Derby and their HR totals:
Year Player   Homers Venue
1993 Mike Piazza   0         Baltimore
1994    Mike Piazza   0         Pittsburgh
1995 Raul Mondesi   2        Texas
2005 Hee-Seop Choi   5           Detroit
2011 Matt Kemp          2       Arizona
The original Home Run Derby Television show was filmed in 1960 at Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field.    The rules were different than the present day AllStar Game version, with two players facing off against each other, getting 3 outs per inning and then taking a break while their opponent batted.  An additional twist was added to the show with a home plate umpire calling balls and strikes.  If a player took a pitch that was called a strike, it would count as an out.  The winning player of the derby would collect $2,000, the loser, $1,000.  Additionally if a player hit three consecutive homers, he’d get a $500 check.  This was decent money for players of that era, and the funds went directly to the players pockets and not to charity.  You'll see in the clip below that Willie Mays was a bit upset that he just missed hitting a third homer in a row as it tailed foul.

The show host was Mark Scott.  Scott would conduct an interview with the player that was not hitting.  Some real superstars and future Hall of Famers participated, i.e., Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew, Al Kaline, Frank Robinson, Eddie Mathews, and Rocky Colavito  Two Dodgers were also a part of that show, Duke Snider and Gil Hodges.
In the Duke’s match against Hank Aaron, he lost 3 homers to 1.  Hodges was victorious in his first Derby against  Willie Mays, defeating the Say Hey Kid 6 to 3.  Gil failed to advanced beyond his second matchup after losing to Ernie Banks 11 to 7, but Hodges performance was easily the best Dodger performance ever in Home Run Derby when his combined totals are tallied.

Year   Player      Homers                 Venue
1960 Duke Snider 1          Los Angeles, Wrigley Field
1960 Gil Hodges 17          Los Angeles, Wrigley Field

So there you have it, the best performance by a Dodger in Home Run Derby was gentle Gil Hodges, who, by the way,  belongs in the Hall of Fame.
On a side note.  Though Home Run Derby was a popular with baseball fans, the show only lasted one season.  Host Mark Scott died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 45 only 9 days after the last show aired.  Producers decided to not continue the show after Scott’s death.


  1. important to note: Kemp's 2 home runs were on the gold ball, which meant he earned $36K for charity. even failing, he did a damn good job.

  2. Good point about the gold ball homers and the money he raised for charity. I should have mentioned that.