Abreu sets new Derby record with 41
Phillies slugger breaks Tejada's record of 27 homers
DETROIT -- Bobby Abreu had a night for the ages Monday in the CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby, pounding 41 long balls into the far reaches of Comerica Park and shattering the records for a single round, the championship round and the total for all three rounds of the derby.He defeated hometown hero Pudge Rodriguez, the Puerto Rican catcher from the Detroit Tigers, 11-5, in the final round. I-Rod had 20 on the night. Abreu, the Venezuelan from the Philadelphia Phillies who hit 18 homers during the first half of the season and is the starting right fielder for the National League in Tuesday night's All-Star Game, hit 24 homers in the first round, breaking the single-round record of 15 set by Miguel Tejada when he won the derby in Houston last year. "It was unbelievable," Tejada said about the show put on by Abreu. "That's what happened to me last year. Today, everything is about Abreu. He was No. 1." Tejada, the Baltimore Orioles shortstop from the Dominican, hit a derby-record total of 27 last July at Minute Maid Park and had that record broken early when Abreu added six more in the second round for a two-round total of 30. The championship-round record of nine was held by Garrett Anderson when the Angels slugger won the derby at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field in 2003. Abreu bested that mark by two. "I was feeling so good I couldn't believe what I was doing," Abreu said. "I was in a good rhythm and it was something that was hard to believe. It was something amazing. This is a beautiful night. This is something amazing that came to me. I don't know if I can sleep tonight." Five of the eight participants earned $294,000 for charity on Monday night by knocking out 14 Golden Home Run Balls for homers after nine outs were recorded in individual rounds. By rule, each player was given 10 outs per round. Any ball not hit out of the park was considered an out. Carlos Lee, the Panamanian from the Milwaukee Brewers, became the first batter to hit out three Golden Balls in the first round, earning the first $63,000 for charity. Each hitter had a chance to add $21,000 to the kitty with each of those shots. Rodriguez had four on the night for a cool $84,000, Abreu had three, and David Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox star from the Dominican Republic, also hit three. Andruw Jones, a member of the Atlanta Braves and representative of the Netherlands, hit one more. "They told me I hit some very long balls today, but I wasn't looking," said Rodriguez, who is the backup catcher on the American League All-Star team behind Boston's Jason Varitek. "I think Puerto Rico feels very happy. It's kind of nice. I think I'm probably going to be all over the news."
Player & Total
|Bobby Abreu||41||56K | 350K||
Complete Coverage >
|Ivan Rodriguez||20||56K | 350K|
|David Ortiz||20||56K | 350K|
|Carlos Lee||15||56K | 350K|
|Hee-Seop Choi||5||56K | 350K|
|Andruw Jones||5||56K | 350K|
|Mark Teixeira||2||56K | 350K|
|Jason Bay||0||56K | 350K|
This year, the event, with its "we are the world" flavor, featured eight sluggers from eight different nations, paying homage to next year's World Baseball Classic -- the first international tournament that will include Major League players from the 25-man rosters of each Major League team.Abreu expects to play for Venezuela next year in the 16-nation tournament. He was the leadoff hitter on Monday night and jolted so many long balls, most of them to right field, that some of his countrymen watching on the field -- Johan Santana, Cesar Izturis, Melvin Mora and Miguel Cabrera -- danced around him waving the Venezuelan flag, not once, but twice during the record-breaking, first-round performance. They were out there again in the finals when Abreu passed Anderson for the record in the championship round -- dancing, high-fiving and hugging. It was a prelude of the emotions that will be on display next spring, from March 3-20, when the first World Baseball Classic takes center stage. "We all have to stick together, no matter what country we're from," Abreu said. "That's the main thing -- that we all have to stick together." Even when it seemed that Abreu couldn't outdo himself, he did, launching a massive 517-foot shot beyond the Montgomery Inn BBQ joint high above the second-deck porch in right field. That blast was the second longest in Home Run Derby history, eclipsed only by Sammy Sosa's 524-foot poke in 2002 at Milwaukee's Miller Park. Only Ortiz barely equaled Abreu's feats, knocking out 16 balls in the first round. Nine out of 10 and six in a row at one point, each one carrying longer than the other into the right-field bleachers, his best topping off at 483 feet. During his first round, a number of Dominicans came out to boost Ortiz, waving the Dominican flag. Ortiz and Lee ascended to the second round, where they were defeated by Abreu and Rodriguez. "It was a lot of fun, but I tell you what, it wasn't easy," Lee said. "You get tired out there. You get tired and that bat starts to get heavier and heavier. At the end of the [second] round, I thought that bat was 40 pounds." Jason Bay, the Canadian from the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Mark Teixeira, a U.S. native who plays for the Texas Rangers, had the most disappointing rounds of the evening. Teixeira hit two homers in the first round and Bay was shut out. But Abreu was obviously the show. "Exciting, yeah, I think the fans liked it," Abreu said. "They come here to see the show. It's not all me. It's all about the Home Run Derby."
Barry M. Bloom is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.