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Pick of the day: Josh Hamilton's classic comeback

By J. Freedom du Lac

Baseball's World Series has come and gone, with my hometown San Francisco Giants having chased more than a half-century's worth of ghosts by finally winning a championship. The Giants won mainly by throttling the best-hitting team in Major League Baseball. -- a lineup anchored by Josh Hamilton, the slugging center-fielder who is a leading contender for the American League Most Valuable Player Award that will be announced later this month.

Not that I'm shedding any tears over this (my team's success trumps a great narrative any day), but San Francisco's win denied Hamilton from adding the ultimate exclamation point to one of baseball's great comeback stories.

The short version is that he was a can't-miss prep prospect who was the first overall pick in the 1999 draft ... and then he completely came apart, becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol following a 2001 auto accident. He was out of baseball completely for a spell, then got clean and clawed his way back. He was in the majors by 2007 -- and a season later was a starter in the All-Star Game and a legitimate MVP candidate. When the Rangers won the American League championship last month, Hamilton cried on the field.

But that summary doesn't really do justice to his story.

To understand just how far he'd fallen and what he had to do to get himself back to baseball brilliance, read this tremendous feature by The Post's superlative baseball scribe Dave Sheinin. It was written during spring training in 2007, when Hamilton's comeback was still in progress, and it's a classic.

By J. Freedom du Lac  | November 10, 2010; 9:18 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
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