In 2014, the Tigers and Phillies are both prominent MLB teams. Two games of the 2012 World Series were played in Detroit’s Comerica Park, and the Phillies are two and a half years removed from an incredible five year run that saw them win a World title.
In 2005, things were a tad bit different.
The Tigers were just two seasons removed from setting the American League record for the worst record in history with a 43-119 record. The Phillies hadn’t made the playoffs since 1993. So when the homerun derby came to Detroit in 2005, both teams and cities needed a spark–and Bobby Abreu delivered.
As you can see above, Abreu set the all-time record with 41 homeruns in one home-run derby. Josh Hamilton put on a clinic at the 2008 homerun derby at the old Yankee Stadium, and still only finished with 35 homeruns.
The problem for Abreu was that after his dominating performance in the homerun derby, his swing never got back to the normal Abreu swing in the second half. Instead Bobby seemed uppercut happy and struggled down the stretch of his final full season in Philadelphia.
Still, Abreu’s performance was special. He was the first of back to back Phillies to win the derby (Ryan Howard won in 2006), and it felt like the beginning of a national turnaround for both teams. The Tigers would shock the world and win the American League pennant in 2006, and the Phillies began their run of five straight National League East titles in 2007.