In 1999 John Hamilton was the first pick of the Major League Baseball draft. The “Golden Boy” as he was dubbed, was a “5-Tool” power hitting outfielder with a rocket arm that consistently registered 96 MPH on the radar gun. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays drafted Hamilton 1st that year and gave the promising high school senior a 3.96 million dollar signing bonus.
Flash forward to 2005. Hamilton has been out of baseball for 3 years and hit rock bottom. He acquired a nasty drug habit that completely drained his bank account to the point where, “the check he made out to a crack dealer bounced and he had to ask his father-in-law to go and give the dealer $2,000 cash.” His 6′4” 230lb frame diminished to a skinny 180 lbs. and became covered with over 25 regrettable tattoos.
Now it’s 2008 and Josh Hamilton is back from the dead sitting at the top of the MLB All-Star ballot and is a legit threat to baseball’s Triple Crown, leading the American League in batting average, home runs and RBIs.
Hamilton’s compelling journey is the type of story from which Hollywood movies are made and it’s chronicled in Sports Illustrated, a must read for any sports fan.