Los Angeles Angels OF Josh Hamilton has battled and persevered his entire life. He has seen the darkest of days and has still managed to become a successful Major League Baseball player. Given the fact that he has overcome his personal problems from the past, recovering from a disappointing 2013 season should be nothing for Hamilton.
In December of 2012, Josh Hamilton left the Texas Rangers to sign with the Angels on a five-year, $125 million contract. The moment he left for L.A., the uproar in Texas started. Hamilton experienced his best seasons in Texas, batting .305 with 156 doubles, 142 home runs, 506 RBI, and 40 stolen bases over a span of five seasons. The five-time All-Star also won an MVP award in 2010 with a .359 batting average, 32 home runs, and 100 RBI.
None of it would have even been possible if not for the support the Rangers gave Hamilton the entire way. They set up a great support system for the slugger highlighted by GM Jon Daniels, Manager Ron Washington, and former teammate Ian Kinsler.
Hamilton’s former issues with drugs and alcoholism are well documented. He finally got sober after confronted by a family member. In May 2008 Hamilton said he has been sober since October 6, 2005.
Unfortunately, Hamilton would suffer a minor relapse in 2012 that was described as “a moment of weakness.” Still, he had the support of the Rangers organization and they would once again help him through a difficult time in his life. This incident hurt the chances of a contract extension at the time, and understandably so.
Hamilton would once again fight through adversity and put up a monster 2012 season, batting .285 with 43 home runs and 128 RBI. The big season set up the 32-year-old very nicely for free agency.
Hamilton would leave the Texas Rangers for the Los Angeles Angels for the 2013 season. The pressure was on Hamilton once again. He had signed a large contract and was expected to perform in a big way. Unfortunately, that was not in the works for Hamilton in 2013.
Hamilton even had some interesting choice words for his former town during spring training 2013:
“Texas, especially Dallas, has always been a football town. The good with the bad is they’re supportive, but they also got a little spoiled at the same time, pretty quickly. You can understand a really true, true baseball town. There’s true baseball fans in Texas but it’s not a true baseball town.”
“The ones that are true baseball fans won’t boo when I come back, and the ones that are not, will. It’s just like last year, when I got booed after going 2-for-4 in a game, driving in a couple runs, and I struck out the other two times. You understand the Yankees, Boston, Cubs, Phillies — baseball towns. If they were doing that, that’s one thing.”
After that, Hamilton’s season never got off to a good start, and it never would. His controversial remarks towards his former town would also earn him the inevitable boos from Rangers fans starting April 5-7 in his return to Texas and continuing later in the season.
Hamilton suffered career lows across the board and was a disappointment in his first season with the Angels. That is why he is set for a bounce back season in 2014. Why, one might ask? Because that is simply what Josh Hamilton does. He is the baseball king of overcoming adversity. He has never let his serious personal issues get the best of him, so why should his first real down-season in the game of baseball stop him?
Josh Hamilton has overcome every obstacle he has faced whether that be in real life or baseball, so do not underestimate him in overcoming this one. It will be year two with the Angels, so he will also be even more comfortable with the organization, coaches, and teammates.
Who knows, maybe he can even get back to the potential MVP candidate we have been so used to seeing him be.