ANAHEIM CA - JULY 12: National League All-Star Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals swings the bat during the first round of the 2010 State Farm Home Run Derby during All-Star Weekend at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 12 2010 in Anaheim California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
I can't be sure about this—it could just be that we're an anxious fanbase in general—but I think we handle the Home Run Derby worse than the average team, and I think it's because we had to watch Jim Edmonds, the baseball-player-equivalent of a European supercar with a transmission made from hand-blown glass and one solid block of sculpted ice, hurt himself participating in one. In 2003 Jim Edmonds came into the All-Star Break hitting .303/.398/.668 with 28 home runs; afterward, .214/.357/.507, with 11 home runs. The difference, for those of us who obsess over this sort of thing, between a he-really-is-a-Hall-of-Famer season and another brilliant, under-the-radar Edmonds peak year.
So instead of a Jose Bautista season, we Hall of Fame-watchers were left with a semi-final performance and eight Derby-homers—admittedly, and for what it's worth, as beautiful as any other Jim Edmonds home runs.
The Cardinals' Home Run Derby past, after the jump:
1985: Jack Clark hits two home runs in the inaugural derby. He finished last among National League contestants, but could take some consolation from the fact that no other member of the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals ever hit two home runs in a season.
1997: Ray Lankford finishes with two home runs, while noted Cardinal Tino Martinez pulls away with 16. Can we talk one more time about how great Lankford was through the first half of 1997? .333/.427/.646, 17 home runs, 15 stolen bases. Only a regular Ray Lankford half-season afterward, though—Curse of the Home Run Derby!
1998-99: Mark McGwire! I miss your home run swing so much! Ken Griffey, Jr., won both of these, shortly before he was replaced by the nearly indistinguishable Anthony Dean Griffey, Jr.
2003: Pujols takes a narrow loss to Garret Anderson, of all people, while Jim Edmonds breaks my heart forever.
2007-09: Pujols participates in the midst of the worst season of his career to date, gets into the semi-finals, and then puts together a second-half 160 points higher, in line with his career averages. Say—it's almost as though this isn't about the Home Run Derby at all, and is more about the derby being a magnet for flukey half-seasons, most of them negative, all of them resolved by the end of the year. But of course not.
2010: Matt Holliday has a basically reasonable Home Run Derby round and reminds everyone that he is actually just a kind of superpowered line drive hitter.