Texas Rangers Outfielder Josh Hamilton Is Baseball's Version Of The Little Engine that Could

By Eric Haftel

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is one of the top three players in the league; players, not outfielder. However, his career has not always been roses and butterflies. He has failed numerous times, making him the mlb version of the little engine that could.

For those of you that don’t know/remember the little engine of could, here is a version of the story:

A little railroad engine was employed about a station yard for such work as it was built for, pulling a few cars on and off the switches. One morning it was waiting for the next call when a long train of freight-cars asked a large engine in the roundhouse to take it over the hill. “I can’t; that is too much a pull for me,” said the great engine built for hard work. Then the train asked another engine, and another, only to hear excuses and be refused. In desperation, the train asked the little switch engine to draw it up the grade and down on the other side. “I think I can,” puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
As it neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, “I–think–I–can, I–think–I–can.” It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, “I thought I could, I thought I could.”

With that story, everyone made excuses and said they couldn’t do it, so obviously, how could this little train do it? Of course, Hamilton is not a little guy, standing 6’4 and weighing 240 lbs.

Hamilton, however, has not always been the big guy with the no chance of failure. In fact, throughout his career, he has failed numerous times.

Here are some of Hamilton’s career failures:

  • Out of baseball from ’04-’06 in rehab, as well as numerous suspensions due to positive drug tests.
  • Suffered a slip in early 2009 in which Sports blog Deadspin.com posted photos of a drunken & shirtless Hamilton in a bar in Tempe, Arizona, with several women. People also heard him asking where he could obtain cocaine.
  • Suffered a second slip with alcohol on Jan. 30, 2011, in which Hamilton claims to have had 2 or 3 drinks. Ian Kinsler showed up at the bar, allegedly to persuade his teammate to go home. That didn’t work because Hamilton had a few more later. Sex tape allegations from that night have also come out, however have yet to see the light of day.

Even after all of that, Hamilton has kept chugging and chugging up that hill that is baseball. Because he has kept chugging, he has accomplished an incredible amount, including his  5-for-5, four big-fly, one double night.

Here are some of Hamilton’s career highlights:

  • First overall selection by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft
  • 2010 AL MVP & ALCS MVP
  • 4x All-Star (2008-2011)
  • 2x Silver Slugger (’08 & ’10)
  • 2010 AL Batting Champ
  • American League record with 18 total bases in just one game (one shy of the Major League record of 19 set by Shawn Green in 2002.)
  • Hamilton tied a MLB record for extra-base hits in a game with 5.
  • 16th player in Major League Baseball history to hit four home runs in one game
It would seem that Hamilton has made it up the hill, even if he does have a slip up from time to time. Hamilton is a guy that we like to cheer. He isn’t like most professional athletes, he is a normal man. He is a man that makes mistakes and appears human, no matter what he can do on the field. I will continue to cheer for Hamilton, who is a free agent this off-season. It should be fun to see what happens next.

You May Also Like