July 16, 2022
Whatever happens in the Home Run Derby Monday night, one thing is for sure, Kyle Schwarber will, at minimum, rip at least a few baseballs into the Dodger Stadium seats.
The NL home run leader and the top seed in the annual All-Star week event will be taking his second go at it and will be the sixth slugger to represent the Phillies all-time.
And he's joining some great company: Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Rhys Hoskins.
Some of the Derby's best, or at least highly memorable moments, are tied to red pinstripes, so how about a look back at the Phillies' entire history in it?
After 47 home runs in the Vet's final season, and 28 homers into the first one at a brand-new Citizens Bank Park, which included the 400th of his career, Jim Thome was a no-brainer for the competition down in Houston. Unfortunately, he was in and out after a round with just four balls that cleared the fence.
With his second straight All-Star nod, this time as the NL starter in right field, and 18 home runs in the first half of the season, Bobby Abreu went to Detroit's Comerica Park and put on a show.
He hit a record 24 homers in the opening round and topped out at 41 total, outslugging the hometown Tigers star Ivan Rodriguez, 11-5, in the finals to win the whole thing.
The Home Run Derby title stayed in Philadelphia, this time courtesy of the new star slugger Ryan Howard, who was surging toward a franchise-record 58 home run season and NL MVP honors.
At Pittsburgh's PNC Park, the Big Piece cleared the fence a total of 23 times and walked off the final round, 5-4, over the Mets' David Wright, which was maybe a sign of things to come.
Howard didn't receive an All-Star nomination but did get an invite out to San Francisco to defend his Derby crown. The effort was short-lived. He was out after just three homers in the first round.
Utley surged through the first half of that unforgettable '08 season with 25 home runs at the break, but his short, violent swing didn't fare well in the Derby format. He was one-and-done after hitting just five homers at the old Yankee Stadium.
But let's face it, this Home Run Derby is remembered for two things: Josh Hamilton hitting an insane 28 homers in one round — and not even winning — and Utley letting the New York crowd know how he really felt.
A whole decade went by before another Phillie appeared in the Derby again, and the format changed too, switching to a timed-based eight-seeded bracket. Rhys Hoskins wasn't an All-Star but as an emerging, power-hitting face for a new era of Phillies baseball, was invited down to Nationals Park anyway.
He out-homered Milwaukee's Jesús Aguilar, 17-12, in the opening round, then fell to Kyle Schwarber (then a Cub) in a 21-20 slugfest.
Schwarber went on to battle Bryce Harper in the finals and ultimately lost, 19-18, in what became a part of Harper's big sendoff from D.C.
And of course, the irony looking back now is that all three are teammates.
Now it falls to Schwaber to create the Phillies' next Derby moment. What will it look like?
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