MLB’s real Home Run Derby curse impacts those who place second

Josh Hamilton placed second to Justin Morneau in the 2008 Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium. (Peter Morgan/AP)

If you’re an entrant in the MLB Home Run Derby Monday night, you can rest easy knowing there’s no such thing as a derby curse.

That is, unless you finish second. Then the curse is all too real, and you might as well just call it a season.

No, really: In the past nine years, derby winners have collectively produced almost exactly as many home runs per at-bat before the all-star break as after. But in that same span no runner-up has had a better second half than first. Either their power numbers dipped or they got injured with no third option on the table.

So, if you’re entering this thing, know there’s no shame in flaming out early. Because doing so in the final can (and will) become a full-on tire fire.


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