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Original Issue

Josh Hamilton


On overcoming his addiction to drugs, including crack and cocaine, which derailed him after he went No. 1 to Tampa Bay in the 1999 draft
I had gotten married [in 2004], and a year later I realized that when I was out using, my wife, Katie, was home praying for me, even when she was pregnant or with the kids. That's when I decided to finally get clean.

On the trade to Texas after hitting 19 homers as a Reds rookie last year
I was at home [in Raleigh] with my wife and two daughters. We had just finished dinner when Wayne Krivsky, the Reds' general manager, called and said they wanted to send me to Texas for a physical. I'd heard rumors. The next day I flew to Arlington. I was excited that a team needed me and wanted me.

On no longer doubting himself
I really realized I could still do it when I was taking batting practice [at Cincinnati's spring training camp last year] with guys who'd been there a while, and I just hit. I was doing as well if not better than they were.

On a favorite moment
Pinch-hitting in the eighth against the Cubs at Wrigley. We'd had a rain delay. It was bright in the stands, and I couldn't see well. I fouled a couple off, 2 and 2. Then I stepped out and said, "God, I need some help here. I can't see anything. I know I said I'd never bring you into games, but just a little help." I hit a bomb over the centerfield wall.

On his favorite part of the game
Runner on third and one out, and a guy hits me a fly ball. I see the ball coming, see the runner, I hear guys saying, "He's tagging, he's tagging." I catch the ball, throw it, and hear the crowd building up. Then there's the play at the plate, and the catcher catches it and tags him out. That's the best feeling.

"Anything hecklers say to me about my past can't bother me, because I lived it."