Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, who played 11 seasons for the Minnesota Twins and won the 2008 Home Run Derby, and Oakland Athletics All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson have been selected as their respective League's final participants for the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby. The announcement was made earlier this evening on ESPN's "SportsCenter" by Derby captains Jose Bautista of the American League and Troy Tulowitzki of the National League.
Morneau completes Tulowitzki's selections, which also included N.L. home run leader Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, outfielder Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers and third baseman Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds. Morneau, who has hit a total of 26 home runs in his two previous career Derby appearances (2007-08), defeated Josh Hamilton in the final round of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium. Along with his teammate Tulowitzki, the duo will become the ninth and 10th different Rockies players (10th and 11th appearances overall) to participate in the event, and it will mark the third consecutive year for the Derby to include a Colorado representative, following Carlos Gonzalez (2012) and Michael Cuddyer (2013). Other Rockies to partake in the Derby include Dante Bichette (1994), Ellis Burks (1996), Larry Walker (1997, 1999), Vinny Castilla (1998), Todd Helton (2001) and Matt Holliday (2008). Morneau has 13 home runs on the season, and his 20 career home runs at Target Field rank fifth in the brief history of the ballpark, which opened in 2010.
Donaldson joins Bautista's previously announced selections, including 2013 Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles and second baseman Brian Dozier of the host Minnesota Twins. Donaldson, who leads Major League third basemen with 19 home runs on the season, will participate in his first Home Run Derby. The 28-year-old, who is tied for seventh overall in the A.L. in homers, is also tied with fellow All-Star teammate Brandon Moss for the team lead. Along with Cespedes, the Oakland duo will give the Athletics its 12th and 13th appearances in the history of the Derby, which will tie Baltimore (including Jones this year) for second among A.L. teams behind Toronto (14, including Bautista this year). In his first full season in the Majors in 2013, Donaldson recorded a career-best 24 home runs, which helped him to a fourth place finish for the A.L. Most Valuable Player Award.
This year's Home Run Derby will introduce a new format, which features a maximum of seven outs per round and bracketed play after the first round. The player who hits the most home runs in each League in the first round will automatically receive a bye to the third round (Semi-Finals). The next two players from each league with the most home runs will square off against one another in a head-to-head matchup in the second round. The winners of these matchups will advance to the third round to face-off against their league's top seed. The final round will feature the winners of the A.L. and N.L. Semi-Finals matchups going head-to-head for the 2014 crown.
The Gillette Home Run Derby will once again raise funds for MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as well as charities selected by the captains. More than $3 million has been raised for charity over the past 10 years, including an all-time high of $615,000 donated in 2012. Gillette and Major League Baseball will donate a significant amount of money to charity through the 2014 event.
The donations from the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby will include $95,000 to the local RBI and Boys & Girls Club programs; $50,000 to the winning participant's charity in his name; $25,000 to each League captain's charity of choice; $20,000 to a charity of choice for each of the winning participant's Derby teammates; and $8,000 to a charity of choice for each of the competitors from the League opposing the Derby winner. The remainder of the money raised by home runs will be donated to RBI and to Boys & Girls Clubs of America on behalf of Gillette and MLB.
The total amount of money distributed will be determined by the home runs hit during the competition. For each orange FlexBall home run hit by a participant throughout the Gillette Home Run Derby, Gillette and Major League Baseball will combine to donate $10,000 to designated charities. Gillette and MLB will combine to make an additional donation of $5,000 for every non-FlexBall home run hit throughout the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby.
In addition to coverage on ESPN and MLB.com, the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby, which is part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN and ESPN Radio in the U.S. as well as ESPN International beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (CT) on Monday, July 14th. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.