NEW YORK — Bryce Harper hit eight home runs in the first round of the 2013 Home Run Derby, crushing line drives to all fields at Citi Field. He hit eight more in the second round, advancing the final round against Oakland Athletics slugger Yoenis Cespedes.
In the first round, Harper hit two to straightaway center field, three to right field, one to left and two absolutely monster shots to right center field. His longest home run of the night measured 471 feet and hit the footbridge that hangs over the bullpens in right center field.
Harper finished the first round tied for second with Chris Davis, but both were well behind the leader, Yoenis Cespedes. Davis hit just four in the second round, to finish with 12 and in fourth place, and Michael Cuddyer hit seven to finish in third.
Cespedes crushed 17 home runs — many of them majestic shots into the third deck in left field — in the first round, so his second round totals were irrelevant. But even he did not have the longest home run on the night.
Harper’s 471-foot homer was second to Prince Fielder’s 483-foot jack. But Fielder hit just five total home runs and was eliminated before the first round was complete.
Harper was exceptionally patient during his first-round session, letting several pitches from his dad, Ron, go by. When they were done, the two shared a big hug between the mound and the plate before making their way off the field.
Before it all began, Harper was very excited to share the moment with his dad.
“Being able to have my dad come in and throw to me, it’s going to be just so much fun for my family and me,” he said. “The outcome, it really won’t matter. It’s just something to enjoy with him. Him throwing to me in a big league ballpark, (after) countless hours of hitting in the cage, at fields across the country, wiffle balls, all that. It’s truly a blessing to be able to do this.”
In Las Vegas, when Ron would throw batting practice to his son at Vegas High School, Harper would crush balls into mountainous backdrop. An Under Armour ad released this spring shows him doing just that.
He wasn’t sure how far he’d ever hit a ball off his dad, but he did have one way to know they went a long way.
“I one-hopped the fire station up on the hill,” Harper said. “I have no clue (how far that is). All I know is I’ve hit a couple in the fire station. They always come out and give us the balls back and stuff.”