With the 2010 World Series kicking off today, we wanted to highlight one of the best men (and best players) on the field this season. Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was named MVP of the 2010 ALCS a few days ago and voted the most “outstanding” player in the American league by his peers in the Players Choice Awards.
But things haven’t always been this bright for the North Carolina native, which is one of the main reasons why he’s our man of the day today. (Granted, this isn’t the first time we’ve raved about him here on Good Feed.)
A baseball wünderkind straight out of high school—he was the number-one pick for the Rays in 1999—Hamilton struggled with drug and alcohol addictions that got him kicked out of the Major Leagues and eventually had him snorting cocaine under his own grandmother’s roof.
“That’s when I really knew I had a problem—I’m doing this in the house of the woman I loved the most,” said Hamilton in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. “She confronted me one night when I came out of the back bedroom, because she knew something wasn’t right.”
That was five years ago. Since then he’s cleaned up, and not only made it back into the MLB but kicked ass doing it. After a stint with the Cincinnati Reds, he was traded to the Rangers; today he heads to his first World Series.
It’s not like the guy hasn’t made mistakes on the way, but his painfully human story has captured the hearts of fans and fellow players alike. To show their support, his team throws him a personal ginger-ale shower at the end of each game, so he can share in the celebrating without dripping in champagne.
“I love my teammates,” Hamilton said when he received his MVP Award. “I love them so much. I’m happy to have them. I don’t want to talk about myself. I want to talk about them. We are the reason we are here.”