Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics may not have been selected to play in this year’s All-Star Game, but he is the undisputed king of the event’s Home Run Derby.
The Cuban left-fielder is in his second year in the majors and was the last player selected to compete in the derby. In the event’s final round he outslugged Washington Nationals wunderkind Bryce Harper by the narrowest margins, winning the round 9-8.
Not only does the victory make him the only player to win the derby without competing in the game (although three others have tried), but he also became the first Cuban born player to win.
Yoenis Cespedes is first Cuban‐born player and 10th foreign‐born player to win #HRDerby.
— MLB (@MLB) July 16, 2013
The victory by Cespedes came against other noted sluggers and former champions such as Robinson Cano of the Yankees and Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers, who were attempting to win the event for a second and third time respectively.
The derby has been a long-time fan favorite event, sometimes even outshining the All-Star game itself. Much like the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, it is meant to show off the world-class talent of professional athletes by having them perform acts that the average person could never dream of. Anyone can catch a fly-ball or make a lay-up, but not everyone can hit upwards of 30 home runs out of a major league park in one night or throw down a 360 tomahawk slam.
For this one night in July, Yoenis Cespedes was a little more than human. For at least a year he is the home run king of Major League Baseball.