Detroit Tigers have solid history in Home Run Derby

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 13: American League All-Star Prince Fielder #84 of the Texas Rangers bats during the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders at the Great American Ball Park on July 13, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 13: American League All-Star Prince Fielder #84 of the Texas Rangers bats during the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders at the Great American Ball Park on July 13, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Tigers may not have anyone in this year’s home run derby, but they’ve had a lot of success in prior competitions.

Detroit Tigers’ fans may not have a stake in Monday’s Home Run Derby, which will include sluggers Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman, Rhys Hoskins and Javier Baez, among others. While Detroit does not have anyone in this year’s derby, they have had solid representation in the home run derby throughout the event’s history.

The Home Run Derby first began in 1985. The Tigers have had a player participate in ten of the 32 derby’s, good for just over 30% participation. Of course, five of those ten years involved Detroit’s most notorious father-son duo.

While the Tigers did not have anyone participate in the 1980’s, they have had representation in each of the last three decades.

1990’s

Cecil Fielder – 1990, 1991, 1993

Fielder was Detroit’s first home run derby contestant. He participated in three home run derby’s in the early-1990’s while on the Tigers. At that time, the formatting consisted of four AL contestants and four NL ones. They would add up the total between the two leagues to determine which league won – making it more like the All-Star game.

In 1990, Fielder competed with Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and Ken Griffey Jr. on the American League side. Despite the star-studded group, McGwire led the AL side with just one home run. Fielder, Canseco and Griffey all put up goose eggs in what must have been an extra windy day at Wrigley Field. On the NL side, Ryne Sandberg hit three to win, alongside Matt Williams (1) Bobby Bonilla (0) and Darryl Strawberry (0).

1991 was a better showing for Cecil, who hit four home runs to finish second in the AL bracket behind Cal Ripken Jr. – who hit 12. Joe Carter (2) and Danny Tartabull (2) rounded out the AL side.

1993 was Fielder’s last HR derby appearance as a Tiger. He hit four of the American League’s 20 home runs, with Juan Gonzalez (7) and Griffey (7) leading the way.

Damion Easley – 1998

After a four-year hiatus without a rep, the Detroit Tigers had star second baseman Damion Easley suit up for the derby in 1998. The derby was held at Coors Field, so home runs were flying all over the place. Easley must not have gotten the memo however, as he only hit two out. He did beat Atlanta’s Chipper Jones, but finished well behind his AL counterparts.

2000’s

Ivan Rodriguez – 2005

The late 1990’s and early 2000’s were a dark, dark time for the Detroit Tigers. That reflected in a six-year gap between home run derby competitors. That hiatus finally ended in 2005, when the Tigers hosted both the Home Run Derby and the All-Star game at Comerica Park. Future Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez competed for the hometown Tigers, and put on a heck of a show.

By now, the derby had switched to the elimination format. Eight competitors were whittled down to four after the first round, two after the second round and then a final round to determine the winner.

Rodriguez hit seven home runs in the first round, good enough to finish fourth behind Bobby Abreu (24), David Ortiz (17), and Carlos Lee (11). Pudge hit eight in the second round, leading all competitors and pushing him into the finals – much to the delight of the hometown crowd.

His luck fell in the final round, as Abreu’s hot-hitting continued. Abreu hit 11 home runs in the final round, compared to Rodriguez’s five. Pudge finished second in overall home runs with 20. Abreu had one of the best home run derbies of all-time, blasting a total of 41 home runs.

Magglio Ordonez – 2007

2006 was one of Detroit’s most successful seasons of all-time, although they did not have a competitor in the home run derby. That changed in 2007, when playoff hero Magglio Ordonez was selected. He was not able to recapture any of his home run magic however, only hitting two home runs in the first round and getting eliminated. Vladimir Guerrero was the winner.

Brandon Inge – 2009

Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge represented Detroit in the home run derby in 2009. On his way to a career-high 27 round-trippers, Inge stumbled during the midsummer classic. Inge was one of the few derby-goers who finished his one and only derby appearance without hitting a homer. Yikes.

Miguel Cabrera – 2010

Miggy only participated in one home run derby while on the Tigers, back in 2010. He made it into the second round after hitting seven home runs in round one. His five home runs in the second round weren’t enough to advance to the championship, as David Ortiz (13) and Hanley Ramirez (12) moved on.

Prince Fielder – 2012, 2013

Prince Fielder, like his dad before him, was a stalwart in the home run derby. That didn’t change when he came to Detroit, as he participated in the derby in both 2012 and 2013.

Prince is Detroit’s only home run derby winner after he took the crown in 2012. Fielder barely edged his way into the second round after only hitting five in the first round. However, he turned it on in round two, smacking 11 home runs to set up a showdown between him and Jose Bautista in the championship. Fielder ended up winning, 12-7.

Fielder’s luck ran out in 2013 as he only hit five home runs, getting himself eliminated in the first round. Former Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes ended up winning, hitting 32 total dingers.

Next: Five best Tigers who weren't All-Stars

The Detroit Tigers have not had a competitor in the derby since 2013. The team has struggled to hit the long-ball, with their 76 combined home runs placing them last in the league. This may not be the year, but don’t be surprised to see Nicholas Castellanos or Christin Stewart in the home run derby in the not-so-distant future.