Watch: Julio Rodríguez breaks Home Run Derby record in Seattle
Jul 10, 2023, 6:59 PM | Updated: 8:49 pm
The hometown crowd at T-Mobile Park was something special for Julio Rodríguez in the Home Run Derby, and the Seattle Mariners superstar somehow topped it with his performance.
A year after Rodríguez announced his presence as a rookie with 81 home runs in the derby at Dodger Stadium, he made history in his home ballpark, crushing a record 41 home runs in the first round.
Rodríguez broke the record of 40 homers set by Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2019. Coincidentally, Guerrero was Rodríguez’s second-round matchup in Monday’s derby, presenting another dragon for him to slay after vanquishing two-time champion Pete Alonso, the seeming ideal for a Home Run Derby participant, in the first round.
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Rodríguez ripped 32 home runs before his 60 seconds of bonus time, then crushed nine more to break the record.
JULIO RODRIGUEZ PUT ON A SHOW 🤩
41 home runs in the first round 🚀 pic.twitter.com/JrI4Ajag0p
— ESPN (@espn) July 11, 2023
— MLB (@MLB) July 11, 2023
It didn’t go Rodríguez’s way in the semifinals as Guerrero tied him with 20 homers in the round before his bonus time, then delivered the last one he needed on his second swing after resuming to eliminate the hometown hero. Guerrero went on to beat Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena in the finals for his first Home Run Derby championship in his second appearance.
It turns out Rodríguez didn’t even know that he had broken a record until after the derby when he spoke to the media.
— Mike Lefko (@MikeLefko) July 11, 2023
— Seattle Sports (@SeattleSports) July 11, 2023
Rodríguez wasn’t the only player with Pacific Northwest ties to wow the crowd. Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman, an Oregon State product and native of the Portland area who grew up coming to games in Seattle, smacked 27 homers in the first round. The switch-hitter also provided one of the more amazing moments of the night as he moved from the left side of the plate to the right side for his bonus time, and he didn’t miss a beat. Unfortunately, No. 1 overall Home Run Derby seed Luis Robert of the Chicago White Sox beat him in the bracketed format to move onto the second round.
Monday marks just the start of a big week for Rodríguez, who is also set to play in his second MLB All-Star Game in as many years after making the American League squad last week as an injury replacement.
The Seattle Mariners are hosting the MLB All-Star festivities for the third time in their existence, the other two occasions being 1979 in the Kingdome and 2001 at T-Mobile Park (when it was called Safeco Field).
In addition to Rodríguez, the Mariners have starting pitchers Luis Castillo (three-time All-Star, first with Seattle) and George Kirby (first-time All-Star) on the AL squad.
More on Julio Rodríguez and All-Star Week
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• Julio Rodríguez gets All-Star stage at home despite challenging Year 2
• Mariners ‘aggressive,’ target ‘big upside’ to open 2023 MLB Draft
• Seattle Mariners 2023 MLB Draft Tracker: Every M’s pick
• Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez, George Kirby added to All-Star Game