Josh Hamilton is an American former professional baseball outfielder who played in Major League Baseball for the ‘Cincinnati Reds’, ‘Texas Rangers’, and L’os Angeles Angels of Anaheim’. He was named the 'American League Most Valuable Player' in 2010 and was selected into the 'MLB All-Star Game' five times in-a-row in 2008-2012. A blue chip prospect who was the first overall pick in the 1999 MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, his career was marred by drug addiction and repeated injuries starting as early as 2001. However, he made his major league debut after being picked up in the Rule 5 draft by the ‘Chicago Cubs’ and traded to the ‘Texas Rangers’ in 2007. His comeback story was featured on the cover of the 'Sports Illustrated' magazine in June 2008.
Childhood & Early Life
Joshua Holt Hamilton was born on May 21, 1981, in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States, to athletes Linda and Tony Hamilton. His father, who worked at a Ditch Witch dealership, strictly groomed his wife, a top amateur softball player, and his two sons, Jason and Josh, during free time.
Josh Hamilton attended Athens Drive High School where he starred as both a pitcher and outfielder after settling on baseball. In the 1999 MLB draft, he was selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as the first overall pick.
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Josh Hamilton had a breakout 2000 season playing for the ‘Charleston RiverDogs’ in the South Atlantic League and hit .301 in 96 games with 13 homeruns and 61 RBIs. He was named to the '2000 All-Star Futures Game' and was voted 'Minor League Player of the Year' by 'USA Today'.
He played only 45 games during the 2001 season as he struggled with drug and alcohol abuse while recovering from an automobile accident. Playing with the ‘Bakersfield Blaze’ during the 2002 season, he hit .303 with nine homeruns and 44 RBIs in 56 games before being ruled out due to injuries.
His 2003 and 2004 seasons were marred by failed drug tests, and he was suspended by MLB for the 2004, 2005 and 2006 seasons for different reasons. He was allowed to work out with the Devil Rays minor league players in June 2006 and played 15 games with the ‘Hudson Valley Renegades’ during the late 2006 season.
Major League Career
Josh Hamilton was selected third overall by the ‘Chicago Cubs’ in the 2006 Rule 5 draft and was immediately traded to the ‘Cincinnati Reds’. He made his Major League debut amidst a 22-second standing ovation on April 2, 2007 and had a great season until he was sidelined following a wrist injury.
After being traded to ‘Texas Rangers’, he hit his first walk-off homerun in July 2008, and hit a record-breaking 28 homeruns in the '2008 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby'. He had an injury-ridden 2009 season, but was still voted by fans into the 2009 All-Star Game.
In 2010, he was selected to the All-Star Game third time in-a-row, won his first batting title with a league-leading .359 average, and won the 'AL Players Choice Award for Outstanding Player'. The Rangers won the '2010 ALCS', reaching the 'World Series' for the first time, and Hamilton won the 'ALCS MVP Award' and was voted the 'AL MVP'.
Despite suffering a fracture to his right humerus which kept him out till May 2011, he was named an All-Star in 2011 and ended the season batting .298 with 25 home runs. In 2012, he was named the league's 'AL Player of the Month' in April and later received the most fan votes in history to appear in his fifth All-Star Game.
He signed a five-year contract worth $125 million with the ‘Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’ and played two seasons with the team before undergoing shoulder surgery in February 2015. He voluntarily reported a relapse into his drug addiction to MLB, which saved him from suspension, but he was traded back to the Texas Rangers in April that year.
He played the rest of the 2015 season with the Rangers, but could not play during the next season after undergoing three knee surgeries in nine months. He was re-signed to the team in 2017 in a minor-league deal; however, repeated injuries in both knees ended his career soon.
Family & Personal Life
After two years of dating, Josh Hamilton married Katie Chadwick, the daughter of Michael Chadwick, who had guided him in his recovery from drugs and alcohol abuse, in 2004. Following another substance-abuse relapse in early 2015, he filed for divorce from Katie, with whom he has three daughters, apart from her daughter from a previous marriage.
On July 8, 2011, after Josh Hamilton tossed a foul ball into the stands, a fan named Shannon Stone died after falling from the stands while trying to catch the ball.