As I watched Josh Hamilton’s fourth home run leave Camden Yards last night, I couldn’t help but be taken back to Sept. 7, 1993, when Mark Whiten hit four home runs against my Cincinnati Reds. I was 32, a rookie general manager and interim president and had the worst pitching staff during a nightmare season.
Hamilton, on the other hand, is living the dream. He leads the American League in home runs, RBIs and OPS. And the impending free agent soon will be paid handsomely for it. On Tuesday night, he set an American League record with 18 total bases in a single game.
He is arguably one of the most talented players in baseball right now, perhaps second only to Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp. I say that not only because Kemp is younger, but Hamilton’s injury and addiction history hold him back. Despite all the accolades and Herculean feats like last night’s four-home run game, the fact is Hamilton’s past has and will continue to impact any contract negotiations he has with the Texas Rangers or any other team that seeks his services.