Josh Hamilton quickly rose from a high school all-star to MLB’s first draft pick in 1999. In 2001, his career was derailed by injuries and drug addiction. Following a hard fought battle with drug addiction, Hamilton returned to the game to be named an American League All-Star and take second place in the Home Run Derby hitting the second most total home runs ever.
Hamilton began his career in baseball drafted to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ minor league system. After a successful first season in the minors, he was involved in a car accident. Following the accident he began his battle with drug addiction. His following seasons were blemished with frequent absenteeism, lack luster performance, and exacerbated by personal problems.
After repeated suspensions for violating the MLB’s drug policy, Hamilton left baseball. During his two year absence, he confronted his demons. After several bouts in rehab, he maintained his sobriety and returned to baseball. With the help of his friend and future father-in-law, Michael Chadwick, Hamilton returned to the minor leagues and was drafted to the majors the following season. After a strong season with the Cincinnati Reds, he was traded to the Texas Rangers.
His triumphant return to baseball has been marked with outstanding success. Having led all Major League players in RBI for one month, he was the first American League player to be named Player of the Month for the first two months of the season. That same season, he took second place in the Home Run Derby, hitting the second most home runs ever. Recognized by fans for his continuing success, Hamilton was chosen as an outfielder for the MLB All Star Game.
As a motivational speaker, Josh Hamilton never shies away from telling his story. He speaks about his drug addiction with fans and community groups and his rise, fall, and redemption have served as a cautionary tale for his teammates.