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Filling the (MLB) Void: Juan Gonzalez wins the 1993 Home Run Derby

Not a great day for Mike Piazza, though…

Oriole Park ar Camden Yards 1996 by Jerry Reuss is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Filling the (MLB) Void: Juan Gonzalez wins the 1993 Home Run Derby

Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Having a hard time with the Major League Baseball lockout? Yeah – us too. Especially when Spring Training should have started and there are still so many questions left to answer before the season can begin. So, we here at The Turf thought we’d offer a way to help ease that tension. While we may not have any of the current MLB baseball to watch live, there is PLENTY of archive footage available at our fingertips.

We’ve scoured the internet and assembled some of the most iconicnoteworthy, and remarkable baseball games we could find. We also found some mundanerun of the mill stories, that seemed banal at first watch. However, at this point, we’ll take anything that resembles an MLB game, right? Until the lockout ends, we’ll feature one of the contests and provide you a link where you can relive the glory, exhilaration, and thrill from the comfort of your couch.

Next up: The first ever nationally televised MLB Home Run Derby.

That’s right. ESPN aired the first nationally broadcast Home Run Derby from Camden Yards in 1993. Fun fact: it aired on a same-day delayed basis (the first truly live Home Run Derby was not aired until 1998).

A few highlights for those of you about to relive an early steroid-era Derby. The American League was represented by Albert Belle, Cecil Fielder, Ken Griffey, Jr., and eventual winner Juan Gonzalez. The National League participants included Mike Piazza, David Justice, Bobby Bonilla, and Barry Bonds. Gonzalez would go on to beat Griffey in a “double overtime” playoff, the first ever of its kind in the history of the Derby. Keep in mind that this event followed the old school “10 outs per batter” rules, as opposed to the time-limit system used for each batter today in the modern bracket-style Home Run Derby. If you were expecting 20-30 homers per round, you may disappointed (Piazza put up a goose egg, as a matter of fact).

But what you can expect is some incredible 90s baseball theme music on ESPN, classic uniforms of yesteryear, and Griffey in a backwards cap swinging for the fences. What more could you need?

Ryan Kelly lives in Cambridge, MA, a stone's throw away from his beloved Boston teams. When he is not working as an editorial assistant, he is providing commentary on the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins for The Turf.

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