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Like father, like son: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wins MLB Home Run Derby

Guerrero Jr. was just 8 years old when he got to watch his Hall of Fame father win it all in San Francisco. Now, he too is a derby champion.
Like father, like son: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wins MLB Home Run Derby
Posted at 9:18 AM, Jul 11, 2023

When in Seattle, who other than a Junior.

Just 16 years after Vladimir Guerrero Sr. took home the title of Home Run Derby champion, Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr.  joined him to become MLB's first father-son duo to be crowned champions. 

In a Seattle ballpark with roots tied to the historic career of the Mariners' Ken Griffey Jr. a generation earlier, Guerrero Jr. was able to out-blast Tampa Bay's Randy Arozarena 25-23 in the final round to win the title. 

Guerrero was just 8 years old when he got to watch his Hall of Fame father win it in San Francisco. But when it comes to the argument of who the best Guerrero slugger is, there's room for debate.

"It's kind of difficult right now," the Blue Jays star said with a grin on his face. "If it's for time, with the [clock], I'll win. If it's by outs, he'll win."

However, the night wasn't all about Guerrero — at least in the beginning. Hometown hero Julio Rodriguez blasted 41 home runs in his first round matchup against two-time derby winner Pete Alonso, breaking Guerrero Jr.'s 2019 record of 40 homers in a single round. 

The two would meet in the semifinals round, but the Seattle slugger couldn't match the output of his spectacular first round performance, losing to Guerrero 21-20. Just minutes later, Guerrero went on to set the final round home run record, topping the mark Pete Alonso set in 2019 when he beat Guerrero 23-22. 

Arozarena, with much more time to rest between rounds, blasted 21 homers in his initial 2 minutes of the final round. Needing just five more to pass Guerrero in his final 30 seconds of bonus time, the fatigue set in and Arozarena fell short, popping the ball up in his final four swings. 

"Obviously, the power that he has was incredible," Arozarena said of his opponent. "For me, I felt good going into that round. But also he was able to get a minute of bonus time. I only had the 30 seconds of bonus time." 

Guerrero was awarded an additional 30 seconds because at least two of his homers reached a monstrous 440 feet.  

After having won the All-Star Game MVP honors in 2021, Guerrero now has another trophy to add to his display case. While he still has some way to go before joining his father in Cooperstown, he seems to be following right in his footsteps. 

The Home Run Derby is an annual event that's typically held the day before the MLB All-Star Game. This year's Midsummer Classic will take place Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.


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