Justin Morneau

Justin Ernest George Morneau (born May 15, 1981) is a Canadian former professional baseball first baseman. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies, and Chicago White Sox. At 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) and 220 pounds (100 kg), Morneau was drafted as a catcher by the Twins in 1999. He converted to first base in the minor leagues and made his MLB debut in 2003. Morneau held that position throughout his career and in 2007 became the first Twin since Gary Gaetti in 1987–1988 to hit 30 home runs in consecutive seasons. He is now a special assistant for the Minnesota Twins.

A four-time All-Star despite an injury-riddled career, Morneau was named the 2006 American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP), finished runner-up for MVP in 2008, and won two Silver Slugger Awards. Additionally, Morneau won the 2008 Home Run Derby and the 2014 National League (NL) batting title. Internationally, Morneau represented Canada at the 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Justin Morneau
0923 398c Justin Morneau
Morneau with the Minnesota Twins in 2006
First baseman
Born: May 15, 1981 (age 38)
New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 10, 2003, for the Minnesota Twins
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 2016, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Batting average.281
Home runs247
Runs batted in985
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early years

Morneau is the youngest son of George Morneau, a hitting coach for many softball and baseball teams, childcare worker, and sporting goods store owner. His mother Audra Chartrand is an elementary school teacher and former fast-pitch softball player. Justin has an older brother, Geordie. His father once played hockey for the Brandon Wheat Kings and attended the training camp of the Minnesota North Stars.

Morneau grew up in New Westminster, British Columbia, the historic "Royal City", adjacent to Vancouver, where he played hockey for the local minor team, the New Westminster Royals, and emerged as a star goaltender, playing for teams a year older than he was. He also played baseball in the New Westminster Minor Baseball Association and for the North Delta Blue Jays in the B.C. Premier Baseball League.

Morneau attended Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary School in New Westminster, later transferring to Richard McBride Elementary School, where his mother was a teacher and coach and where he enrolled in a French immersion program. He played basketball and volleyball and ball hockey on the school teams.

Growing up, Morneau was an avid sports fan, whose favourite athletes included hockey players Patrick Roy, fellow BC boy Cam Neely, Ray Bourque and baseball players John Olerud, Ken Griffey Jr, Jack Morris and Larry Walker. He was a Boston Bruins and Toronto Blue Jays fan.

Morneau attended St. Thomas More Collegiate High School in 1994–95, for his grade 8 year, where he played basketball. Coaches approached him to play for the school's famed football program, based on his athletic ability, but he declined.

Morneau transferred to New Westminster Secondary School and graduated in 1999. He continued to play basketball and hockey while in high school. He was named the New Westminster High School Athlete of the year and was a member of Canadian national champion baseball teams in 1997 and 1998. In 1998, he was selected the best hitter and catcher of the National Championships playing for Team British Columbia.

Morneau was associated with the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League; he attended training camp and played one preseason game of Major Junior hockey as a goaltender. Morneau chose his jersey number (33) for goalie Patrick Roy. He is listed as winning the Memorial Cup in 1998 with the Winter Hawks. As Morneau put it, "I was the third goalie. A backup to the backup. If somebody got hurt, I might have gotten out there as a backup. I played in an exhibition game and backed up some regular-season games.".[1] Morneau remained on Portland's Protected Player List until he decided to focus on baseball instead of hockey. According to Winter Hawks assistant coach at the time, Mike Williamson, "He was young and raw — a big guy who covered a lot of the net. I remember a conversation we had with him when recruiting him. We told him he should go to hockey because not many Canadian guys end up going very far and doing very well in baseball. He showed us otherwise."[2]

Professional career

Justin Morneau-Metrodome-20060611
Home run for Morneau, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

Minor leagues

Morneau did not attend college, despite receiving many attractive offers from NCAA schools. He was selected by the Twins in the 3rd round as the 89th overall pick of the 1999 MLB amateur entry draft. He converted to first base in 2001 while playing for the Class-A Quad Cities River Bandits. In six minor league seasons, he hit .310 with 87 home runs, 153 RBIs and 122 doubles.

Morneau participated in the 2002 and 2004 All-Star Futures Games, playing for the World teams. Morneau played for the World team in MLB Futures Game, July 7 in Milwaukee. Morneau was twice named Eastern League Player of the Week, April 22–28 and July 15–21. On September 3, Morneau was promoted to Minnesota's Triple A team, The Edmonton Trappers. During his first Triple A season, Morneau won the PCL championship with the Trappers.

Minnesota Twins

2003 season

Morneau made his Major League debut with the Twins on June 10, 2003 against the Colorado Rockies, batting clean-up. He singled in his first career at-bat off Jason Jennings and went 2 for 4 in the game. A week later, he hit his first career home run off Kansas City Royals reliever Albie Lopez. Morneau went on to hit four home runs in his rookie season while batting .226. He spent the majority of the season with the Twins' Triple-A affiliate Rochester Red Wings.

2004 season

In 2004, after compiling impressive minor league numbers, the Twins dealt veteran first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to the Boston Red Sox and Morneau became the Twins' starting first baseman. He appeared in 74 games for the Twins in 2004, hitting 19 home runs and 58 RBIs in 280 at bats while committing just three errors.

2005 season

The 2005 season was a struggle for Morneau, as he dealt with a variety of off-season illnesses as well as being hit in the head by a pitch in April. Although he never appeared to fully shake off his early season setbacks, Morneau finished the 2005 season second on the Twins in home runs with 22 and paced the squad with 79 RBI.

Prior to the 2006 season, Morneau suited up for his native Canada in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He hit .308 with 3 doubles and 2 RBIs in three games.

2006 season

During Morneau's first 3 seasons with the Twins he wore #27, starting in 2006 he began to Wear #33 for the rest of his Twins career. After a slow start to 2006, Morneau exploded offensively in the months of June, July, and August, raising his batting average nearly 50 points in June after beginning the month hitting .240. He raised his average another 33 points in July and after June consistently appeared near the top of the American League leaderboard in batting average, home runs, and RBI. On August 9, Morneau became the first Twin since 1987 to hit 30 home runs in a single season. He finished the season hitting .321 (6th in the AL) and slugging .559 (6th in AL) with 34 home runs and 130 RBI. He was second in the league in RBIs and tied Larry Walker's 1997 total for the most RBIs in a season by a Canadian. For his hitting, he won the 2006 American League Silver Slugger Award representing first basemen. His efforts helped the Twins win their fourth division title in five years.

On November 21, Morneau won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in a close vote over Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, becoming only the fourth player in Twins history (after Zoilo Versalles, Harmon Killebrew, and Rod Carew) to receive the honour. He became the first Canadian to win the AL MVP award, and the second Canadian to win a major league MVP award (Larry Walker was the first, having won the NL MVP Award in 1997; Walker and Morneau were joined in 2010 by Joey Votto).

2007 season

Morneau played in 157 games, hitting 31 home runs. In May 2007, Morneau won the Player of the Month in the American League for the first time in his career. Morneau appeared on the cover of the arcade baseball video game The Bigs in Canadian stores and at Best Buy stores in the United States.

Morneau was named to the 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game roster in 2007 for the first time. He also participated in the 2007 State Farm Home Run Derby for the first time. He was up first and hit 4 homers and ended up tying with Albert Pujols in the first round. He was subsequently eliminated with only one homer on 5 chances in a tie-off. Pujols advanced to the 2nd round with 2 homers. Morneau had his first career three home run game on July 6, 2007, against the Chicago White Sox. He had a solo, a 2-run, and a 3-run homer. He had an at bat to try for his fourth home run, but his bat got under the ball, and he flew out to deep left field.

2008 season

In January 2008, Morneau agreed to a six-year contract worth $80 million, which at the time was the longest and richest contract in Minnesota Twins history until in 2010, teammate Joe Mauer signed an 8-year, $184 million contract.[3] Morneau produced with his new contract, as he played in all 162 of the Twins' games and hit .300 with 23 home runs and 129 RBI.[4]

On July 10, 2008, Morneau tied a career high with 5 hits in a game as the visiting Minnesota Twins defeated the Detroit Tigers. He hit what went on to be the game-winning home run to finish the day 5 for 5 with a walk in a 7–6 extra-innings win.[5] Morneau was then announced as a reserve player for the American League in the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.[6]

Morneau won the 2008 Home Run Derby, defeating Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers. He became the first Canadian to win the Home Run Derby.[7] Later during the All-Star event, Morneau scored the winning run for the American League in the MLB All Star Game at Yankee Stadium on a sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of Michael Young.[8] Morneau was awarded the Lionel Conacher Award as the Canadian Press Male Athlete of the Year, joining Ferguson Jenkins and Larry Walker as the only Major League Baseball players to win the award.[9] Morneau finished second in the balloting for AL MVP, as Dustin Pedroia won, and Kevin Youkilis came in third.[10]

2009 season

Morneau hit 30 home runs and on July 5, 2009, was selected as a reserve position player at first base for the 2009 All Star Game. On September 14, Morneau was officially diagnosed of having a stress fracture in his back after a long slump, and therefore missed the rest of the 2009 season and the playoffs.[11]

2010 season

Morneau got off to a strong start in the 2010 campaign, hitting a career first-half high .345 batting average and having a major-league leading .437 on-base percentage and .617 slugging percentage at the All-Star break. For the first time in his career, he was voted in by the fans to start the 2010 All-Star Game at first base, but ended up pulling out from the event after sustaining a concussion on July 7.[12]

Morneau missed the remainder of the regular season with the effects of post-concussion syndrome. After the Twins clinched the American League Central Division championship, Morneau said that he was finally symptom-free. Morneau said he would be unavailable for the ALDS, but that he hoped to be available for the ALCS should the Twins advance.[13] On October 4, 2010, the Twins announced that Morneau would not return for the 2010 season, regardless of how far the team went in the postseason.[14]

2011 season

The Minnesota Twins were glad to see Morneau somewhat recovered from his season-ending concussion in July 2010. He was in the Opening Day starting line-up against the Toronto Blue Jays. This did not last long, though, as he missed five games with the flu later in April and a couple of games in June with a sore wrist. He underwent neck surgery in June to correct pinched nerves in his neck, causing him to miss two months from mid-June to mid-August. Just ten days later, he missed two games with a bruised foot. On August 29, 2011, Morneau suffered a left shoulder injury that would lead to mild concussion-like symptoms. These symptoms eventually led to Morneau missing the remainder of the season.[15] In 2011, Morneau appeared in just 69 games collecting just 60 hits, only four of them home runs. He batted a meager .227 with 19 walks and 30 RBI. All of the previous are career lows disregarding his rookie season.[16]

2012 season

In 2012, Morneau returned as an everyday first baseman for the Twins. Appearing in 134 games, Morneau finished the season with a .257 batting average, 19 home runs and 77 RBI.[17]

2013 season

Before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 31, Morneau played in 127 games for the Twins and had nearly matched his total stats for 2012, batting .259 with 17 home runs and 74 RBI.[18]

Pittsburgh Pirates

Rest of 2013

On August 31, 2013 he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Alex Presley and a player to be named later,[19] who was later identified as Duke Welker on October 5, 2013.[20] On September 1, 2013 he made his debut with the Pirates, playing first base and wearing number 66. Morneau wore number 33 in Minnesota, but due to number being retired in Pittsburgh (in honour of Honus Wagner), he simply decided to double it.[21]

Colorado Rockies

MG 8889 Justin Morneau
Morneau batting with the Colorado Rockies

On December 3, 2013, Morneau agreed to a 2-year, $14 million deal with the Colorado Rockies, pending a physical.[22] The deal became official on December 13.[23] Morneau became the first Rockies player since Larry Walker to wear #33 as it had been out of circulation, but not retired for Walker since he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004. Morneau won the 2014 batting title with a .319 batting average.

After the 2014 season, Morneau traveled to Japan to participate in the 2014 Major League Baseball Japan All-Star Series.[24]

Chicago White Sox

On June 9, 2016, Morneau signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Chicago White Sox.[25] He was immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list, and was projected to return after the All-Star break.[26] Due to Zach Duke Wearing #33, Morneau decided to Wear #44 instead.

Front office

After playing for Canada in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, but spending the 2017 MLB Season as a free agent, Morneau took a job as a special assistant to the Minnesota Twins, functionally ending his playing career.[27]

Personal life

Moody-Park-Justin-Morneau-Field
Baseball diamond #5 in Moody Park was named Justin Morneau Field in honor of Morneau on February 2, 2008.

Morneau's parents divorced when he was 7 years old. His mother is a retired teacher and his father works in a warehouse. He has an older brother named Geordie. His mother remarried in 2006 and now Justin has two stepsisters.[28] Morneau married Minnesota native Krista Martin in January 2009. Their daughter Evelyn was born on September 23, 2010;[29] their son Marty was born on July 21, 2012.[30][31]

He has purchased a home in his hometown of New Westminster, where he plans to live after his career is over. His house is just four blocks from Queen's Park, where he grew up playing hockey and baseball. As a minor leaguer in Florida, he experienced homesickness, and would log onto a Vancouver radio station online to hear the weather and traffic reports, and wonder what his friends were up to back home.[28]

Morneau's family is well known in New Westminster. On February 2, 2008, the city honoured him by renaming Moody Park Diamond #5 to Justin Morneau Field.[32] Morneau Field is located just 25 kilometres (16 mi) from a field named for one of Morneau's idols, Larry Walker Field, located in the nearby city of Maple Ridge.

Morneau is extremely superstitious, and wears number 33 to honour his idol, former NHL goaltender Patrick Roy. As a young hockey player, he would refuse to leave the car for hockey games until the clock read :33 minutes past the hour.[28] (He actually appears as an Easter egg in the NHL video game, NHL 2K8, playing his junior position of goaltender.)

Morneau had a superstitious routine on game days in Minnesota. Before each home game, Morneau stopped by the same Jimmy John's Gourmet Subs, on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota and ordered the same sandwich from the menu: Turkey Tom with no sprouts. Later, he drank a slurpee from a slurpee machine in the Twins' clubhouse made of one-half Mountain Dew, one-half red or orange flavor.[28]

He currently resides in Plymouth, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis.

The Justin Morneau Foundation was established by Morneau himself and his wife, Krista, to support underprivileged communities with an emphasis on those where the Morneaus have lived.

Over a span of four years, (2008–2011) Morneau has mailed more than 200 personalized holiday gifts to Twins employees, including the Target Field grounds crew.[33]

Quotes

  • "(The Star Tribune) said they were going to do it as more of a joke. I didn't really want to do it — I didn't really like it." — Morneau on newspaper's full page spread labelling him and Joe Mauer as the "M & M Boys."[34]
  • "He didn't call me or anything. It was an accident, but a lot of people would have called to see how someone is doing after they got hit in the head. Especially if they had to go on the DL." — Morneau on pitcher Ron Villone after an April 2005 beaning.[34]
  • "That felt pretty good. It was the situation too; it was a one-run game and I hit a three run homer and that was pretty cool." — Morneau on his three-run homer off Villone in September 2006. It was the first time he had faced the left-hander since the beaning.[35]
  • "I don't like opening up the paper and reading...quotes about myself. I don't really like to see myself on TV or anything like that." — Morneau on the increased media attention he has experienced in 2006.[35]
  • "You are just not really thinking about anything and seeing the ball well. You go out there and feel pretty relaxed and patient and when they give you that pitch, you do something with it."— Morneau on his 3 home run game on July 6, 2007[36]
  • "I wasn't very impressed with that to tell you the truth. You figure they could find somebody to come and sing the song. They have a hockey team here, the Canadian teams play here. It's something that didn't really go over too well. I think if it happened the other way around, if they were playing in Toronto and they did that, it would have been a lot bigger deal. But nothing you can do about it." — Morneau on an incident after the Canadian anthem was not performed live at the 2009 Major League Baseball All Star Game but rather played on tape instrumentally[37]

See also

References

  1. ^ Answer Man: Justin Morneau talks hockey, middle names – Big League Stew – MLB – Yahoo! Sports
  2. ^ James Mirtle (November 29, 2006). "Could Morneau have made it in hockey?".
  3. ^ "The Official Site of The Minnesota Twins: News: Morneau, Cuddyer ink multiyear deals". Archived from the original on January 29, 2008. Retrieved February 16, 2008.
  4. ^ "Minnesota Twins Stats — Sortable Statistics". MLB.com. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Mauer earns first All-Star Game start | twinsbaseball.com: News". Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
  7. ^ "Morneau steals show to rule Derby | twinsbaseball.com: News". Archived from the original on July 18, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
  8. ^ "Morneau's mad dash pays off | twinsbaseball.com: News". Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
  9. ^ "Twins' Justin Morneau named Canadian male athlete of the year". The Sports Network.
  10. ^ Browne, Ian (November 18, 2008). "Youkilis finishes third in AL MVP race". MLB.com.
  11. ^ "Morneau's season ends with back injury". MLB.com. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  12. ^ "Minnesota Twins' Justin Morneau to Miss All-Star Game". FOX Sports. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  13. ^ "Morneau takes BP, may aim for ALCS return". Major League Baseball. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  14. ^ "Twins announce end to Morneau's season | twinsbaseball.com: News". Minnesota Twins. MLB. May 24, 2013. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  15. ^ "Fantasy Baseball News & Player Updates | MLB.com: Fantasy". Minnesota Twins. MLB. May 24, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  16. ^ "Justin Morneau Stats, Video Highlights, Photos, Bio | twinsbaseball.com: Team". Minnesota Twins. MLB. May 24, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  17. ^ "Justin Morneau News, Videos, Photos, and PodCasts – ESPN". Search.espn.go.com. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  18. ^ "Justin Morneau 2013 Stats – Yahoo!Sports". sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  19. ^ Pirates Acquire Morneau
  20. ^ "CONFIRMED: Duke Welker IS the PTBNL In Justin Morneau Trade, Added to 40-Man Roster". Twinkie Town. October 5, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  21. ^ Souhan, Jim (September 4, 2013). "Morneau changes number". The Star Tribune. Twin Cities, Minnesota. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  22. ^ "Colorado Rockies agree to deal with Justin Morneau". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  23. ^ "Justin Morneau signs with Rockies". ESPN.com. December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  24. ^ Wagner, James (September 30, 2014). "Bryce Harper to play for MLB all-star team in Japan in November". Washington Post. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  25. ^ Todd, Jeff (June 9, 2016). "White Sox Sign Justin Morneau". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  26. ^ "Chicago White Sox cut Mat Latos, sign Justin Morneau". Associated Press. July 9, 2016. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  27. ^ Calcaterra, Craig (January 9, 2018). "Justin Morneau takes a job as a special assistant for the Twins". mlb.nbcsports.com. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  28. ^ a b c d Olney, Buster (January 3, 2007). "After changing lifestyle, Morneau rose to prominence". ESPN The Magazine. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  29. ^ "Morneau, Party of Three «". Justinmorneau.com. September 23, 2010. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  30. ^ "Twitter / Twins_morsecode: Justin & Krista Morneau". Twitter.com. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  31. ^ "Twitter / Twins_morsecode: The Morneau's name newborn". Twitter.com. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  32. ^ http://www.eteamz.com/newwestbaseball/images/JMF_Front_photo.jpg
  33. ^ Pioneer Press (December 15, 2011). "Charley Walters: Josh Willingham's former teammate says Twins will like new outfielder". TwinCities.com. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  34. ^ a b MPR: The Bleacher Bums: The reluctant "M"
  35. ^ a b MPR: The Bleacher Bums: Justin Morneau: What a difference a year makes
  36. ^ MPR: The Bleacher Bums: Kicking it with the MVP, Part II
  37. ^ [2] Archived November 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine

External links

Preceded by
Alex Rodriguez
American League Player of the Month
May 2007
Succeeded by
Alex Rodriguez
2005 Minnesota Twins season

Coming into the year, the 2005 Minnesota Twins were favored to go on and win their division. However, a weak offense and injuries (most notably to Torii Hunter) prevented this from coming to fruition. This led manager Ron Gardenhire to reshuffle his coaching staff following the season. The team finished sixteen games behind the World Champion Chicago White Sox. The Twins have never won four straight division titles in their 104-year franchise history.

2006 American League Division Series

The 2006 American League Division Series (ALDS), the opening round of the 2006 American League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 3, and ended on Saturday, October 7, with the champions of the three AL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. They were:

(1) New York Yankees (Eastern Division champions, 97–65) vs. (4) Detroit Tigers (Wild Card, 95–67); Tigers win series, 3–1.

(2) Minnesota Twins (Central Division champions, 96–66) vs. (3) Oakland Athletics (Western Division champions, 93–69); Athletics win series, 3–0.The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage, which was determined by playing record.

The Athletics and Tigers met in the AL Championship Series, where a Detroit sweep made the Tigers the American League champions. The Tigers then faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2006 World Series, and lost, four games to one.

2006 Major League Baseball season

The 2006 Major League Baseball season ended with the National League's St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series with the lowest regular season victory total in a non-strike season in history. The American League continued its domination at the All-Star Game by winning its fourth straight game; the A.L. has won nine of the last ten contests (the 2002 game was a tie). This season, the Atlanta Braves failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 1990. Individual achievements included Barry Bonds who, despite questions surrounding his alleged steroid use and involvement in the BALCO scandal, surpassed Babe Ruth for second place on the career home runs list.

2006 Minnesota Twins season

The Minnesota Twins 2006 season ended with Minnesota finishing the regular season as champions of the American League Central Division, but were swept in three games by the Oakland Athletics in the 2006 American League Division Series.

2007 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby

The 2007 State Farm Home Run Derby was a 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game event. The Home Run Derby was held on July 9 at AT&T Park, the home field of the San Francisco Giants. As usual, the competition had eight competitors, seven of whom were eliminated over three rounds. The Home Run Derby was seen July 9 on ESPN at 8 p.m. EST. Vladimir Guerrero of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim beat Alex Ríos of the Toronto Blue Jays 3–2 in the final.

2008 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby

The 2008 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby (known through sponsorship as the State Farm Home Run Derby) was a home run hitting contest in Major League Baseball (MLB) between four batters each from the American League and National League. The derby was held on July 14, 2008, at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York City, the host location of the 2008 MLB All-Star Game. ESPN televised the event live at 8:00 PM EDT, with ESPN Radio and XM Satellite Radio handling radio broadcasting duties.Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins defeated Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, 5–3, in the final. In the first round, Hamilton set an MLB record for most home runs in one round of a Derby with 28, hitting 13 of them with eight outs.

The eight participants were Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros, Dan Uggla of the Florida Marlins, Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies, Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, Grady Sizemore of the Cleveland Indians, Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins.

Vladimir Guerrero of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was originally going to participate to defend his 2007 title, but he ultimately declined the invitation in order to spend time with his family. Morneau became the first Canadian player to win the derby since its introduction in the 1985 MLB season.

2008 Minnesota Twins season

The 2008 Minnesota Twins season was the 48th season for the franchise in Minnesota, and the 108th overall in the American League. After tying the Chicago White Sox for first in the AL Central Division with an 88–74 record, the team lost a one game playoff to finish second and miss the league playoffs.

2009 Minnesota Twins season

The 2009 Minnesota Twins season was the 49th season for the franchise in Minnesota, and the 109th overall in the American League. It was their final season at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome with their new stadium, Target Field, opening in 2010. They ended the regular season as AL Central champions after defeating the Detroit Tigers in a one game tie-breaker. They were then swept in the American League Division Series by the New York Yankees.

2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 81st midseason exhibition between the All-Stars of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 13, 2010, at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, the home of the American League Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and was telecast by Fox Sports in the US, with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in the broadcast booth. Fox also teamed with DirecTV to produce a separate 3D broadcast, the first ever for a network Major League Baseball game. Kenny Albert and Mark Grace called the 3D telecast. ESPN Radio also broadcast the game, with Jon Sciambi and Dave Campbell announcing. The National League won the game 3–1, ending a 13-game winless streak.This was the third All-Star Game hosted by the city of Anaheim, California, which previously hosted the game in 1967 and 1989. From 2003-16, the winning team earned home field advantage for the World Series. This was the first All Star Game the National League won since 1996, giving the NL said advantage in the World Series for the first time since 2001 – ironically, the winning pitcher, Washington Nationals closer Matt Capps, would go on to participate in the American League playoffs after his trade to the Minnesota Twins just a couple of weeks following the Midsummer Classic.

A short memorial honoring George Steinbrenner, the owner of the New York Yankees who died early that morning, was held prior to the game.

2014 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby

The 2014 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby (known through sponsorship as the Gillette Home Run Derby) was a home run hitting contest in Major League Baseball (MLB) between five batters each from the American League and National League. The derby was held on July 14, 2014, at the site of the 2014 MLB All-Star Game, Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Yoenis Céspedes was the winner, repeating his winning performance in 2013 to join Ken Griffey Jr. as the only players to win consecutive Home Run Derbies.In June, MLB named José Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays and Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies the Home Run Derby captains. On July 8, 2014, the captains each made their first three picks, while saving their final pick for July 10. Tulowitzki selected Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds, Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, and would later select his teammate Justin Morneau who played in Minnesota for ten seasons. Bautista selected defending home run derby champion Céspedes of the Oakland Athletics, Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins, and Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles, and added Oakland's Josh Donaldson as his fifth AL selection.

Baseball superstition

Baseball is a sport with a long history of superstition. From the Curse of the Bambino to some players' refusal to wash their clothes or bodies after a win, superstition is present in all parts of baseball. Many baseball players — batters, pitchers, and fielders alike — perform elaborate, repetitive routines prior to pitches and at bats due to superstition. The desire to keep a number they have been successful with is strong in baseball. In fact anything that happens prior to something good or bad in baseball can give birth to a new superstition.

Some of the more common superstitions include purposely stepping on or avoiding stepping on the foul line when taking the field, and not talking about a no-hitter or perfect game while it is in progress — a superstition that also holds for fans and announcers. Others include routines such as eating only chicken before a game like Wade Boggs, pitcher Justin Verlander eating three crunchy taco supremes (no tomato), a cheesy gordita crunch and a Mexican pizza (no tomato) from Taco Bell, before every start, and drawing in the dirt in the batter's box before an at bat. Justin Morneau, the 2006 American League Most Valuable Player winner, wears number 33 to honour his idol, ex-NHL goaltender Patrick Roy. His ritual before every Twins' home game entails stopping by the same Jimmy John's Gourmet Subs — located on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota — and ordering the same sandwich from the menu: Turkey Tom with no sprouts. Afterwards, he drinks a Slurpee from a Slurpee machine in the Twins' clubhouse made of one-half Mountain Dew, one-half red or orange flavor.Certain players go as far as observing superstitions off the field. This includes early 20th century second baseman Amby McConnell. Whenever he was in the middle of a batting slump, he would scavenge the streets and pick up any pin he found, believing this was a sign he would break out of the slump.

Dick Bremer

Richard James Bremer (born March 1, 1956) is a sports broadcaster for Fox Sports North. He has been the lead television announcer for the Minnesota Twins since 1983. He has also called Minnesota Golden Gophers men's basketball and Minnesota Golden Gophers football and hockey. He previously called Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball and Minnesota North Stars games during his tenure. He partners up with, for home games, Bert Blyleven, and for road games, works with Jack Morris, Roy Smalley III, Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, or LaTroy Hawkins for the Minnesota Twins television broadcasts.

Home Run Derby

The Home Run Derby is an annual home run hitting contest in Major League Baseball (MLB) customarily held the day before the MLB All-Star Game, which places the contest on a Monday in July. Since the inaugural derby in 1985, the event has seen several rule changes, evolving from a short outs-based competition, to multiple rounds, and eventually a bracket-style timed event.

List of Major League Baseball players from Canada

This is a list of baseball players from Canada who are active in Major League Baseball (MLB).

MLB Japan All-Star Series

The MLB Japan All-Star Series is a quadrennial end-of-the-season tour of Japan made by an All-Star team from Major League Baseball (MLB) since 1986, contested in a best-of format against the All-Stars from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) or recently as of 2014 their national team Samurai Japan (SJP).

The series featured many great players, such as Nori Aoki, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, Shinnosuke Abe, David Ortiz, Sammy Sosa, Justin Morneau, David Wright, Jose Reyes, José Altuve, Robinson Canó and Manny Ramírez.

In the beginning of all games the American, Canadian and Japanese national anthems are all played. And games can end in a tie if it persists through 12 innings, just as in NPB rules.

Mark Verstegen

Mark Verstegen is the President and Founder of Athletes’ Performance and Core Performance. He serves as the Director of Performance for the NFL Players Association, and, introduced by Jürgen Klinsmann in 2004, is an athletic coach for the German national football team. He also set a Guinness World Record with Sheraton Hotels for the World's Largest Resistance Band Strength Training Class.He directs a team of performance, nutrition and rehabilitation specialists to train athletes including 2010 NFL #1 Draft Pick Sam Bradford and the last 5 #1 NFL Draft Picks, the German National Soccer Team, USA Men's National Team, Everton F.C. and the MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy, Chivas USA and Sporting Kansas City; baseball's Justin Morneau, Brian Roberts and Evan Longoria; NFL players Mike Karney, Max Starks, Terrell Thomas; hockey players Chris Drury and Angela Ruggiero; and NBA players Kevin Love and Caron Butler.

Minnesota Twins award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Minnesota Twins professional baseball team.

North Delta Blue Jays

The North Delta Blue Jays, are a Canadian youth baseball team located in the city of Delta, British Columbia. The team was founded in 1995, and joined the B.C. Premier Baseball League in 1999. The team plays their home games at Mackie Park.Most of the Blue Jays are from either North Delta or Ladner, another community in Delta. Although they have never won a league championship, the Blue Jays have produced three very well known Major League Baseball players in pitcher James Paxton (Seattle Mariners) Jeff Francis and 2006 American League MVP Justin Morneau.

Tip O'Neill Award

The Tip O'Neill Award is given annually to a Canadian baseball player who is "judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to the highest ideals of the game of baseball." The award was created by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and first presented in 1984. It is named after James "Tip" O'Neill, one of the earliest Canadian stars in Major League Baseball (MLB).Larry Walker, Jason Bay, Joey Votto, and Justin Morneau are the only players to win the Tip O'Neill Award at least three times. Walker has won the award nine times, and Votto has won it seven times. Three winners—Walker, Terry Puhl, and Rob Ducey—are members of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. The award has been presented to one amateur player, Daniel Brabant. Walker, Votto, and Justin Morneau won the MLB Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award alongside the Tip O'Neill Award; the trio are the only Canadians to win the MLB MVP Award. Éric Gagné, the 2002 and 2003 recipient, compiled a major league record of 84 consecutive save opportunities converted from 2002 to 2004 and won the Cy Young Award in 2003. He and John Axford went on to win the Rolaids Relief Man Award in the same year as the Tip O'Neill Award. Bay became the first Canadian to win the Rookie of the Year Award, which he won the same year he won his first Tip O'Neill Award. Votto is the only award winner to also win the Hank Aaron Award.Initially, the award was presented annually at either Rogers Centre in Toronto or Olympic Stadium in Montreal, depending on which venue the award winner's team was scheduled to play at during the MLB season. However, as the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C., and the Toronto Blue Jays do not host all the National League teams on an annual basis, the award has also been presented at the home park of the winning player. James Paxton is the most recent recipient of the award.

Home Run Derby champions
1932–1950
1952–1975
1976–2000
2001–present

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