It was a different time and place in baseball when Ryno needed just three homers to win the Home Run Derby.
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Good morning, frents!
The Sox are an AL-best 54-35 and get a much-needed pit stop before chasing their playoff dream. The Cubs are 44-46, have lost 13 of their last 15 and get a quick breather before the deadline chaos that awaits.
Neither team has a participant in tonight's Home Run Derby, which is honestly just as well. The whole night will be about Shohei Ohtani anyway and Carlos Rodon hasn't had a plate appearance since 2017. Heh.
But it does make me think of Chicago appearances in Home Run Derbies past. Andre Dawson won the third installment of the event, winning the 1987 Derby at Oakland Coliseum. Frank Thomas got one in 1995 at The Ballpark in Arlington and Sammy Sosa lapped the competition in 2000 at Turner Field.
Then there was Ryne Sandberg becoming the first of three sluggers to win a Derby at home when the Cubs last hosted the All-Star Game in 1990.
And all he needed were three homers to beat the rest of the seven-player field, which combined for just two homers.
You read that right — the 1990 Home Run Derby featured just five homers.
How did such a thing ever happen?
After all, the last time MLB held a Home Run Derby — all the way back in 2019 — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit 91 baseballs over the wall and still lost the event to Pete Alonso because of the bracket format.
It helps that the weather for 1990's All-Star Workout Day was uncooperative. The Home Run Derby was still held during the day then and the weather on July 9 was unseasonably in the '70s after a cold front moved in over the weekend.
The infamous Wrigley wind was also blowing in.
The format wasn't as conducive for long displays of power, either. MLB and ESPN had yet to figure out that the Home Run Derby could be milked for an entire night of primetime with a bracket, multiple rounds and a running clock for players to hit as many home runs as possible.
In 1990, each of the eight participants received two turns of five outs. Any swing that wasn't a homer was counted as an out.
Ken Griffey Jr., an eventual three-time derby champion participating in his first contest, couldn't put one out.
Neither could Jose Canseco, Cecil Fielder, Bobby Bonilla or Darryl Strawberry. A quartet that would hit 164 homers during games that counted couldn't hit one in an exhibition that didn't.
Mark McGwire got one as did Matt Williams but Sandberg didn't have a tough hill to climb as he stepped up to the plate for the final turn.
"I was just so pumped up, I wanted to do something special," Sandberg later told reporters. "I could hear the fans."
After two quick outs, Sandberg hit one into the left field bleachers to tie McGwire and Williams. Another onto Waveland Avenue for the lonely ballhawks effectively won the Derby and Sandberg added a third as a cherry on top.
Winning a Home Run Derby with just three homers didn't make much news then and it probably shouldn't have. Dawson won his title in 1987 with just four and it wasn't until 1991 that a winner hit double digits (Cal Ripken with 12).
But it was a different time and place in baseball. The Derby didn't carry the same weight. News of Sandberg's win was buried on page 14 of the Chicago Tribune sports section under an account of the Old-Timers' game and 48-year-old Dick Allen's home run off 47-year-old Fergie Jenkins. (Admittedly pretty awesome.)
The scene will be different the next time Wrigley gets the All-Star Game, which should likely come over the next three seasons.
ESPN will broadcast it in primetime, the best sluggers will sign up for a chance at the opportunity and both Waveland and Sheffield should be bombarded with baseballs.
Call it a re-do that's way overdue.
Name the two other players to win the Home Run Derby at their own ballpark.
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News and results
Sox 7, Orioles 5: Adam Engel saves the day
A two-out, three-run homer by Adam Engel in the 10th completed a sweep in Baltimore and rendered Liam Hendriks' blown save an inning earlier relatively harmless.
- The Sox went 7-0 against Baltimore this season. According to Elias, it's the first time in franchise history that the team swept a season series of seven or more games.
- The Sox's eight-game lead over Cleveland is the second-biggest All-Star break lead in franchise history. The 2005 squad led Minnesota by nine games at the break.
- Four Sox will head to Colorado for the All-Star Game: Carlos Rodon, Lance Lynn, Hendriks and Tim Anderson, who was added to his first All-Star team as Carlos Correa's replacement.
Two homers in the prospect showcase brightened the day for Cubs fans and earned Davis an audience with none other than Ken Griffey, Jr. The Double-A Knoxville outfielder is the third player in Futures Game history to hit two homers, joining Alfonso Soriano (1999) and Yusniel Diaz (2018). The only bad thing that happened to Davis on Sunday? The Chandler, Arizona native wore "Suns In Four' cleats and, well, that's no longer happening.
- Sox prospect Yoelqui Céspedes went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
- The Cubs selected LHP Jordan Wicks out of Kansas State with the 21st pick. Rated as the top college lefty, Wicks owns Baseball America's top-ranked changeup and will hopefully be able to help out the rotation sooner rather than later.
- The Sox took shortstop Colson Montgomery out of Southridge HS in Indiana with the 22nd pick. Montgomery was projected by many mocks as the Sox selection and the team ended up getting its guy. Montgomery is 6-foot-4 and also a basketball star but he'll need a lot of development time at just 19 years old.
Two own goals by Houston helped the Red Stars to a home win on Sunday night and they'll definitely take it as they try to navigate a month without Olympians Alyssa Naeher, Tierna Davidson, Julie Ertz and Casey Krueger. The Red Stars have won two straight for the first time all season and are currently 4-4-2.
- Lance Lynn isn't onboard with Ohtani starting the All-Star Game on the mound. Sun-Times
- Jack Silverstein wrote a great piece on Game 6 of the 1992 NBA Finals and how 'Rock and Roll Part Two" almost tore the roof off the old Stadium. A Shot on Ehlo
- Theo Epstein wants GMs to scale back on analytics. 670 The Score
- The Blackhawks filed a motion to dismiss the second lawsuit against the franchise, arguing it had no "statutory duty" to report the alleged sexual assaults. Sun-Times
- The story behind the mystery Cubs fan who spreads generosity at ... every Cardinals game. KSDK
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Trivia answer: Cincinnati's Todd Frazier in 2015 and Washington's Bryce Harper in 2018