New York Josh Hamilton thought back to the days when his career was derailed by drugs and alcohol.
“I would say a 99 percent chance that this would never happen,” he said. “I mean, honestly, I think a lot of people would agree with that.”
In one of baseball’s most inspirational turnarounds, the Texas Rangers outfielder was a runaway winner of the American League’s Most Valuable Player award Tuesday. Hamilton received 22 first-place votes and 358 points from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Former Cincinnati Reds teammate Joey Votto was voted the NL MVP a day earlier.
Hamilton overcame eight trips to rehabilitation for addiction to lead the major leagues in batting average (.359) and slugging percentage (.633) and help the Rangers reach their first World Series. He had 32 homers and 100 RBIs despite missing time nearly all of September because of two broken ribs.
After going on the disabled list in 2001 while in the minors, he became addicted to alcohol and cocaine. He didn’t play from 2003-05.
“I do reflect. If I didn’t reflect, ‘I’ might start sneaking in there, a little ego might start sneaking in there, and that’s one thing I don’t want to happen,” Hamilton said. “So I do reflect, and I think about where I was at my lowest time.”