CLEVELAND — The youngest field of participants in history put on a show in the 2019 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby at Progressive Field in Cleveland Monday night.
Whether it was a pair of rookies dueling it out in the finals or a record-setting performance by a first-year player and a wild semifinal round, the 2019 Home Run Derby delivered plenty of special moments.
Here is a look back at the most memorable moments from The Derby.
Historic opening round
It is fair to say that baseball is in Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s genes, and he did the family name and his Hall of Fame father proud in a record-setting performance in the first round.
After an early timeout following a slow start, Guerrero Jr. went on a tear and totaled 24 home runs before having 30 seconds of bonus time added. Guerrero Jr. put that time to good use, as he belted five more for a record total of 29 home runs.
Guerrero Jr. broke the old record, which was set by Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton. Memorably, Hamilton hit 28 home runs, several of which flirted with leaving the stadium grounds, in the first round of the 2008 Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium in New York City.
Wild second round
‘Can you top this?’
Following record-tying performances and identical showings in the first two tiebreakers, Guerrero Jr. bested Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson with two home runs in the second of their three-swing run-offs in a memorable semifinal matchup.
Guerrero Jr. narrowly missed besting his record from the first round when his final swing came up just short of clearing the wall, so he settled for twice having the best single-round total in Home Run Derby history, but in short order, there was company at the top of the list.
After watching Guerrero Jr. belt 29 home runs, Pederson matched that total with a late rally in regulation and a solid showing in the 30-second bonus period.
In the first tiebreaker, in which each competitor got 60 seconds to hit as many home runs as they could, Guerrero Jr. and Pederson each hit eight home runs. Following that run-off, the semifinal matchup moved into a three-swing tiebreaker.
Both players hit one home run during the first three-swing battle, but it was Guerrero Jr. who belted two round-trippers in the second three-swing tiebreaker, which put him into the finals.
No love for Alonso
New York Mets rookie infielder Pete Alonso returned to the very state where his parents were raised and met, but the first-year slugger fulfilled the role of heel and won the 2019 MLB Home Run Derby.
Alonso had a late rally in each of the three rounds of competition, including a first-round matchup against Cleveland Indians star infielder Carlos Santana, which drew the ire of the partisan crowd that packed into Progressive Field.
Despite record-setting and record-tying performances in the first two rounds from his counterpart in the finals, Guerrero Jr., Alonso blasted 23 home runs to secure the victory.
Alonso totaled 57 home runs over the three rounds.
Guerrero Jr. set multiple records in his first derby.
In addition to the single-round record, which he broke and later equaled, Guerrero Jr. became the youngest participant in the 34-year history of the Home Run Derby. Guerrero Jr. (20 years, 114 days) bested the mark set by Hall of Fame center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. (20 years, 230 days) in 1990.
Also, Guerrero Jr. set the record for the most total home runs in a single derby with 91 blasts over the wall, including a couple that hit the scoreboard in left field. The previous record-holder, Giancarlo Stanton, hit 61 home runs in the 2016 Derby.
Lastly, in the head-to-head format, the previous first-round record was 23 home runs was set by New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in 2017. Guerrero Jr. beat that total by six home runs.