From 2007 to 2015, few hitters in Major League Baseball were as feared as Josh Hamilton. But it’s not his athletic prowess we are here to recognize today. Hamilton has a success story unlike any other.
For years, he battled demons that would have killed most people, but with the power of family and religion, Hamilton mounted a seemingly impossible comeback that will inspire generations of baseball players.
Understanding Hamilton’s Roots
One could analyze stats of Josh Hamilton’s illustrious nine-year career for days, but to really get a full appreciation of Hamilton, you have to understand his roots.
In 1999, Hamilton was the first-overall draft pick by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Yet, he didn’t make his major-league debut until 2007. The struggle all started in 2000 which was a season ending injury.
Unable to participate in the sport he grew up playing every day, Hamilton looked for other sources of entertainment. Being a millionaire right out of high school meant Hamilton had the funds to experiment.
The Slippery Slope Of Addiction
Before too long, Hamilton befriended a local tattoo parlor where he quickly amassed up to 32 tattoos. Alongside this lifestyle came parties with the wrong crowd. Up until that point, Hamilton steered clear of drugs and alcohol. All it took was one day to change all of that.
After trying his first alcoholic drink, Hamilton experimented with cocaine merely hours afterward.
In an exclusive interview, Hamilton explained his mental state during his experimentation saying “there is a little guy that lives right here,” as he points to his forehead. “That’s the guy that tells you not to use drugs. When I take my first drink. That little guy leaves. I’ve never used drugs without having a drink first.”
It was this mentality that kept Hamilton on drugs for years. Meanwhile, his body deteriorated in front of the eyes of his loving friends and family. But right when Hamilton was at his lowest point, divine intervention stepped in.
Dealing With The Devil
In June of 2006, Hamilton was having reoccurring dreams of intense fights with a terrifying figure he believes to be the devil. Yet, after the MLB called Hamilton to reinstate his eligibility, the dreams starting taking a positive turn.
Suddenly, Jesus Christ was fighting alongside Hamilton and together, they defeated the devil. Back in reality, another person stood nearby to fight the upcoming challenges. Hamilton cites his grandmother as an inspiring force in his recovery and success in baseball. She helped him remain focused on his faith and on the game.
Later on, Hamilton admitted that he “abused my body. I abused it badly. I think I’ll pay for that the rest of my life.” While Hamilton managed to squeeze nine stellar seasons out of his tumultuous life, the physical effects began to plague him.
2015 saw him with a new string of injuries, but that didn’t stop him from trying to come back once again from the “impossible.” For anyone who has dealt with inner demons in the face of defeat, look to Josh Hamilton as a shining example of what a little faith and family can accomplish.