clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Giants have the longest Home Run Derby drought in the National League

New, 1154 comments

The last Giants hitter to be invited to the Home Run Derby was Barry Bonds. That kind of bugs me.

Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The Home Run Derby is a silly exhibition, nobody really cares about it, and it’s beneath this website to suggest there’s some sort of anti-Giants conspiracy. However, it’s probably not too farfetched to note there is definitely some sort of anti-Giants conspiracy when it comes to the players invited to participate in the Home Run Derby. The Giants have the longest participant drought in the National League, and it quietly bugs the heck out of me

A list of the last year each team sent a player to participate in the Home Run Derby:

Team Last participant
Royals 1991
Giants 2004
Braves 2005
Astros 2008
Indians 2008
Phillies 2009
Rays 2009
Diamondbacks 2010
Brewers 2011
Red Sox 2011
Cardinals 2012
Mets 2013
Nationals 2013
Pirates 2013
Tigers 2013
Yankees 2013
A's 2014
Twins 2014
Angels 2015
Blue Jays 2015
Cubs 2015
Rangers 2015
Dodgers 2016
Mariners 2016
Marlins 2016
Orioles 2016
Padres 2016
Reds 2016
Rockies 2016
White Sox 2016

The Royals have a much bigger reason to complain. However, they’re also the only team in baseball never to have a 40-home run hitter, so it’s probably their own danged fault. The Giants are clearly being punished by the shadow masters of Major League Baseball, and I have theories why this drought exists:

1. They haven’t had a lot of traditional power hitters since Barry Bonds left

As in, it’s been over a decade since they’ve had a 30-homer player. Which ... okay, this hurts the conspiracy angle, gimme a second.

2. Punishment for Bonds declining the 2007 Home Run Derby in San Francisco

Bonds was supposed to be the draw. He was supposed to be the hometown favorite, the reason people tuned in. But he said "nah" in a typically oblivious and Bondsian fashion, and the shadow masters responded with, "Well, then, nuts to you, and nuts to your entire organization."

I give Bonds a lot of leeway, of course. I’m a biased shill. But I’m still mad that he didn’t participate in that Derby.

bonds

We could have one of those, but from this century. And maybe the Giants would have been rewarded with a Derby participant over the last decade.

3. No, seriously, they haven’t had a lot of obvious Derby candidates

Not entirely convinced of this, as Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey would have been reasonable candidates, but, fine. Maybe this is just one of those things, and not something that requires a deeper explanation.

Besides, I wouldn’t want Posey in the Derby. I don’t buy into the myth that it messes with a hitter’s swing, but I also don’t think that Posey has a Derby-winning swing, so either he’d futz with it or go out in the first round. Neither one appeals to me.

4. Major League Baseball hates fun

Madison Bumgarner couldn’t participate because there was grumbling.

Bunch of grumblepusses, the lot of you.

It’s not just Bumgarner, though. Why has Hunter Pence never been invited? I get this year, sure, but he’s been a batting practice legend for almost his entire career. Other players have concurred for years. He would clearly be one of the more entertaining possibilities available to MLB.

As is, it’s almost like the powers that be forget that AT&T Park affects raw home run totals and pigeonholes Pence into a category with all the other 20-homer outfielders.

5. The powers that be forget that AT&T Park affects raw home run totals

Pretty much. I don’t know if Buster Posey would have 35 homers in Fenway, but I’m willing to hint as much without supporting evidence because I want to believe it.

6. Look, the Giants have had just ten 20-homer seasons since Bonds retired. Get some better power hitters or let it go

That’s just rude, and ... wait, just 10?

Rank Player HR Year
1 Hunter Pence 27 2013
2 Aubrey Huff 26 2010
3 Pablo Sandoval 25 2009
4 Buster Posey 24 2012
5 Juan Uribe 24 2010
6 Pablo Sandoval 23 2011
7 Buster Posey 22 2014
8 Brandon Crawford 21 2015
9 Hunter Pence 20 2014
10 Bengie Molina 20 2009

Well, I’ll be. That does put things into perspective a little. Though I’m still annoyed as a fan, if only because it’s my right, and because I secretly had my heart set on Bumgarner this year.

Next year is when Pence stays healthy and the drought ends. That’s just a guess, and even though it was the same one that I had last year, I’m doubling down. Until then, here’s another Home Run Derby without a Giants hitter. Or pitcher. There’s no way you should admit that you care, but it’s okay to be quietly irked. I like seeing my favorite baseball men hit baseballs far. Giants fans haven’t had one of those in over 10 years. They haven't had a winner in 20.

It's time. But, as usual, we'll have to wait 'til next year.