Chris Sabo in the home run derby?
With his trademark goggles, Chris Sabo seemed like one of the most unlikely choices to compete in major league baseball’s annual home run derby.
However in 1991, Sabo was a year removed from a world championship and in the middle of his most powerful season of his career.
Sabo was selected to compete as a part of the National League’s team for the 1991 home run derby at SkyDome in Toronto.
Since the annual slugging competition in 1985, the Cincinnati Reds have had eight representatives slug 36 homers. Dave Parker won the first competition and Eric Davis was victorious in 1989 at Anaheim Stadium, the site of this year’s competition. Sabo however did nothing to contribute to the franchise’s total.
Sabo, who competed in the competition along side fellow Red Paul O’Neill failed to clear the fences on any of his 10 pitches. O’Neill led the National League with five homers, while Howard Johnson of the New York Mets also failed to homer.
The American League behind Cal Ripken Jr.’s 12 home runs won the competition 20-7. The National League’s two other tallies came from George Bell of the Chicago Cubs.
In 2008, Yahoo! Sports named Sabo the 10th worst home run derby participant of all-time.
There is some defense to include Sabo in the slugging competition though. In 1990, Sabo cracked 25 homers. Leading up to the all-star game, he had 12 homers en-route to being voted in as the National League’s starting third baseman. He finished the season with a career-high 26 home runs.