Way back in 1999 the Tampa Bay Devil Rays drafted a "can't miss" prospect by the name of Joshua Holt Hamilton first overall. Joshua was named the Amateur Baseball Player of the year by USA Baseball and many professional scouts said he was the best player they had ever seen. (Think Sydney Crosby) Well he signed for about $4 million (as an 18 year-old) and he began what many assumed would become a hall of fame career.
In 2001 Josh Hamilton was involved in a bad car accident, and during the recovery process began to experiment with drugs and alcohol. In 2002 he was injured again and began to delve further into drug culture. He was then suspended after failing a drug test and was out of baseball from 2002 to 2006 when he came back with the Cincinnati Reds. He was then traded in to off-season to the Texas Rangers where he is currently playing.
That brings us to Homerun Derby tonight. Josh put on a clinic slugging 28 homeruns in the first round (the next closest was 8) a Homerun Derby record for one round. Many of them moonshots, well into the upper deck at Yankee Stadium. Josh just came up short in his bid to win the Homerun Derby. (Congrats to Canadian Justin Morneau) Adding to the fairy tale was the fact that his pitcher was Clay Counsil (71 years old) who was his high school mentor.
The overall story is such an amazing one. The tattooed, once drug addicted, suicidal, alcoholic Hamilton has turned his life around and give all the glory to God. It really is an amazing story of how no one is too far for God to reach. A couple weeks ago Josh Hamilton was the feature story in Sports Illustrated and it was one of the best I've read in that magazine. Take a couple minutes and read the story. It will move you.