Get To Know Your Home Run Derby Champion


Wow. That’s all I can really say. Wow.

Yoenis Cespedes did not just win last night’s Home Run Derby. He dominated it. He blasted 17 first-round homers, most of those landing in the second and third decks of left field. He hit just enough homers in the second round to give the American League an overall total home run win. Then he bested Bryce Harper’s eight final-round home runs with five outs remaining.

The Oakland outfielder is the home run king in Cuba, and in displaying his raw but spectacular power captured the imagination of American baseball fans who before last night knew little more about him besides what they had seen in newspaper box scores.

It’s time we all took a moment to learn more about Cespedes. So I wanted to link a few stories here that can more fully tell his and his family’s story than I possibly could.

After defecting from Cuba and establishing legal residency in the Dominican Republic, Cespedes signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the Athletics in February of 2012. had an in-depth piece about Cespedes’ love of home, his decision to leave and how he has and must continue to adapt to life in a new country.

And the fascination and inspiration doesn’t end with Yoenis. The San
Francisco Chronicle penned a story detailing the saga of the rest of the Cespedes family. It reads like something out of Hollywood. They escaped from communist Cuba, stared down possible death from exposure and starvation, spent a time in detention after rescue and found themselves embroiled in a bitter dispute with an agent. I highly recommend you read it, as it will give you insight into the people that have helped mold Yoenis into the man he is today.

I’m traveling this week, so I don’t have a lot of time to post. So I will leave you to read the three stories linked here to get a complete sense of Cespedes’ story.

About Matthew George

Matthew George graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2008 with a bachelor of science in journalism. He spent three years writing sports for the Kentucky Kernel, the university's daily paper, and served as assistant sports editor. After undergrad, Matthew attended Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University where he earned his juris doctorate. He is now admitted to practice law in Kentucky and Indiana.

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