Midtown: Sports

Raleigh’s Josh Hamilton remains humble after homers

Josh Hamilton reacted exactly as you would expect after a historic night when he hit four home runs against the Baltimore Orioles.

“I think about what God’s done in my life, everything I did to mess it up,” Hamilton told reporters after the game. “Understanding that what I’m doing and what God’s allowed me to do, coming back from everything I went through and allowing me to play the game at the level I play it, it’s pretty amazing to think about.”

Hamilton was the first player taken in the 1999 baseball draft after a sensational high school career at Raleigh’s Athens Drive, but his drug and alcohol addictions seemed to have ended his career before it ever got started.

He was out of baseball entirely in 2004 until 2006 before recovering and returning to baseball, first with the Cincinnati Reds and later with the Texas Rangers.

He won the American League batting title in 2010 and was the league and league championship series MVP. Hamilton has played in four baseball all-star games and has led the Texas Rangers to the World Series the past two years.

After Tuesday night, Hamilton was batting .406 and led the majors with 13 homers and 36 RBIs.

Hamilton became the 16th player in Major League baseball history to hit four home runs in a game Tuesday. His 18 total bases is an American League record and he drove in a career high 8 RBIs.

Hamilton homered off Jake Arrieta in the first and third innings, added a third home run off Zach Phillips in the seventh and pounded a two-strike offering from Darren O’Day for his fourth home run.

Hamilton also hit a double for a 5-for-5 night.

“Obviously it’s, other than being in the World Series, the highlight of my big league career,” Hamilton told reporters. “I was saying after I hit two I’ve never hit three in a game before, and what a blessing that was. Then to hit four is just an awesome feeling, to see how excited my teammates got.

“It reminds you of when you’re in Little League and a little kid, and just the excitement and why we play the game. Things like that. You never know what can happen. It was just an absolute blessing.”

The last player to hit four home runs in a game was Carlos Delgado on Sept. 25, 2003, for Toronto against Tampa Bay.