Take a look back at the most memorable Home Run Derby moments ever

Best Home Run Derby Moments
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Take a look back at the most memorable Home Run Derby moments ever

1993 and 1994: Mike Piazza goes 0-for-the Derby

Luckily for Mike Piazza, then of the Los Angeles Dodgers, there's virtually no Internet proof that the 1993 or 1994 Home Run Derbies existed. Piazza took a first-round exit in both contests, failing to crank a single homer in both years. He never participated in another, though ESPN brought him in as an analyst often thereafter.


1998: Ken Griffey Jr. changes his mind

Peak Ken Griffey Jr. in a pre-humidor Coors Field sounds like a dream. But up until the All-Star break, the Mariners outfielder was insisting on holding out of the event. After hearing resounding boos during workout day in Denver, Griffey changed his mind and decided to give the fans the show they needed. 

He smacked 19 homers in 42 swings, edging out Jim Thome for the crown.


1999: Junior Griffey repeats at Fenway

A year after taking the title in Denver, Griffey flipped his cap backwards once again the next year at a memorable All-Star break in Boston. We didn't get any shots of the Green Monster, but his blasts to dead center and around Pesky's Pole were enough to earn him his third and final derby victory -- more than anyone else in history.


1999: Mark McGwire shrinks the Green Monster

Before the MLB's PED-using stars were outed in the early 2000s, they were essentially mythical beings among the sport's fanbase. Mark McGwire was one, and at Fenway Park in 1999, he put on a show. He smashed 16 jacks, clearing the Green Monster several times. 


2002: Sammy Sosa slams 12 in the first round

Sammy Sosa gave baseball a ton of longball memories over his prime, but the 2002 derby was his time to shine. He slammed 12 home runs, which doesn't seem outrageous today, but for an average of 477 feet. 


2003: Bret Boone wiffs 

Derby participants certainly aren't immune to riding the fail boat every so often, and Bret Boone proved this in 2003. Not only did he post a donut, but the second baseman swung and missed on a BP fastball. Not great.


2005: Bobby Abreu does it for Venezuela

Sometimes the derby lets an unexpected hero shine, like in 2005 when Bobby Abreu -- who never hit more than 31 home runs in any season -- smacked 41 home runs in the contest. His mark still rests as the all-time record. Despite his insane power surge in the competition, though, he finished the '05 regular season with only six home runs in the second half.


2006: David Wright gets wiped down by Big Papi

In just his second full MLB season, David Wright took part in the Home Run Derby at PNC Park, viewed as a heavy underdog. Stunning many, though, he sent 16 homers over the fence in Round 1, then good for third all-time. He ran out of steam and eventually lost to Ryan Howard, but David Ortiz was there to cool him off.


2007: McCovey Cove gets shut out

The Home Run Derby coming to San Francisco had kayakers giddy in 2007, when hoards of fans paddled into McCovey Cove beyond the right field fence in hopes of catching a unique souvenir. In one of the more underwhelming derbies in recent history though, no balls made it to the water.


2008: Josh Hamilton wows Yankee Stadium crowd

Of all the memories the Steroid Era left in derby lore, 2008 may have hosted the most thrilling performance ever. The year belonged to Josh Hamilton, who'd finally found stardom after years away from the league fighting addiction. In the contest, Hamilton smashed a ridiculous 28 first-round homers before losing to Justin Morneau in the final round -- though when asked, most would probably remember Hamilton as the champion.


2012: Robinson Cano gets booed into oblivion

Years ago, the league transitioned to a format that allowed two "captains" to select players onto their league's team. Robinson Cano earned the honor in 2012, but elected not to take Kansas City slugger Billy Butler onto the American League team. 

With the contest taking place at Kauffman Stadium, the Royals faithful greeted the defending champion Cano with endless boos throughout his entire first-round appearance. It worked. Cano failed to hit a single home run and was eliminated.


2014: Yasiel Puig finally gets humbled 

Entering the 2014 All-Star break as one of the league's most fiery personalities and talented young studs, the baseball world couldn't wait to watch Yasiel Puig swing away in the Home Run Derby. But when it came time to hack away, the 23-year-old didn't manage to launch a single bomb, following in former Dodger Mike Piazza's footsteps two decades earlier. 



Over its three-decade history, the MLB's Home Run Derby has something of an interesting past. The so-called Steroid Era provided us with unforgettable outputs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but even after the league has weeded out PED users, some players have been able to put on memorable shows.

Ahead of tonight's contest, we took time to break down the moments that define the derby -- the good, the bad and everything in between. Click through above to take in the history, and discuss your own favorite derby moments in the comments section below.

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