Bryce Harper is no stranger to wowing the hometown crowd at Nationals Park. But when the struggling outfielder, in possibly his final season with the Nationals, staged an epic comeback in last night’s T-Mobile Home Run Derby, he blew everyone away. In a late display of raw power and nerves of steel, Harper ran away with the contest in its final moments when, down 18-9, he nailed 10 home runs in just 50 seconds. And the best part? It wasn’t just some guy pitching to him, it was his dad Ron.
Despite dad’s lack of professional pedigree, Harper asked him to be his designated Derby pitcher ⏤ and he didn’t disappoint, putting 10 perfect pitches over the plate. “Looking out at my dad sitting there, one ball, one strike, one ball, one strike, and bam, hit eight in a row. And it was like, here we go, we’re rolling,” Harper said. “We’ve talked about it in the off-season where we went to the high school field in Vegas, and we’ve sat there and I’ve hit 14 in a row on the street or something like that. And it’s like, okay if we get in the Derby, we’re going to win this thing.”
The Greatest Comeback in Sports History.
Don't @ us. pic.twitter.com/5pbtXoCMSf
— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 17, 2018
While Harper has competed in the Home Run Derby before, this was his first win. Although it turns out, when he was 12-years-old, Bryce was actually named the King Of Swat after coming out on top of a Little League home run competition held at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He actually didn’t remember it.
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Bryce Harper's dad had to remind him he won a home run-hitting contest held annually in Cooperstown called the King of Swat when he was a kid. Was curious if there was any evidence of it, and the Internet never fails to provide.
Meet 11-year-old Bryce Harper. pic.twitter.com/sZU1cTMRtT
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 17, 2018
One could still argue that it wasn’t winning a contest like the Home Run Derby in the past, but rather the fact that it was his pops who was on the mound in front of him. In the last few years, the contest has seen more and more dads taking the mound to pitch for their sons. Second baseman Robinson Cano had his father, Jose, pitch for his four different times including when he won the event in 2011. Harper’s dad has also pitched for him each time he’s been in the contest.