With his dad standing only sixty feet away, Robinson Cano dazzled the Chase Field crowd by belting 32 home runs, including a record 12 in the final round. By besting the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez, Cano became the third Yankee to win the homerun derby, joining Tino Martinez (1997) and Jason Giambi (2002).
As soon as the final home run left Cano’s bat, father and son shared an emotional embrace. The hug was even more compelling than all of the titanic blasts launched deep into the stands. In an instant, the elder Cano was transformed from a stoic batting practice pitcher into a very proud papa whose face finally flashed a smile to equal his son’s. For years, baseball fans have heard the story about how Cano’s father named him after the legendary Jackie Robinson, but with that embrace, it became evident that he passed on more than just a name.
Although some might be surprised by Cano’s prolific power display, his performance was nothing new to anyone who has watched the infielder take batting practice. In fact, anyone who has witnessed Cano over the past seven seasons should be well aware of his developing power. Since 2008, he has gradually increased his homerun output, and after last night, it now seems clear the sky is literally the limit for Cano. Even if he simply maintains his current pace, the 28-year could very well exit the game as one of the best ever at his position.
Most Career Homeruns by a Second Baseman
|Jeff Kent||351||Davey Johnson||43|
|Ryne Sandberg||277||Rogers Hornsby||42|
|Joe Morgan||266||Ryne Sandberg||40|
|Rogers Hornsby||264||Alfonso Soriano||39|
|Brett Boone||251||Rogers Hornsby||39|
|Lou Whitaker||239||Rogers Hornsby||39|
|Robinson Cano||131||Robinson Cano||29|
Once overlooked among the Yankees’ cavalcade of stars (Jim Leyland once referred to the Yankees’ lineup as Murder’s Row plus Robbie Cano), the sweet swinging second baseman has emerged as one of its top stars. And, if he isn’t there already, last night’s victory in the homerun derby should put him at the forefront of baseball’s center stage. His father should be proud. He raised a hell of baseball player.