MVP of Recovery

By Dirk Hanson 03/31/11
Josh Hamilton hits away.
Photo via blog.prorumors

Josh Hamilton, reigning American League MVP of the reigning American League champion Texas Rangers, went 1 for 2 with one RBI in the Rangers' 6-2 victory over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at the end of spring training this week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Nothing very remarkable about that—until we recall that Josh Hamilton lost three full seasons of play to drug and alcohol addiction. “I was a big, strong man, and I was supposed to be able to handle my problems myself, Hamilton told ESPN. “That didn't work out so well.” The Cincinnati Reds took a flyer on him in 2007, and, newly sober after treatment, he went on to break the All-Start Game Home Run Derby with a single round of 28 on his way to becoming the 2010 AL MVP for the Texas Rangers. “Every day I'm reminded that my story is bigger than me,” he said. “It never fails. Every time I go to the ballpark, I talk to people who are either battling addictions themselves or trying to help someone else who is…. I’ve been called the biggest surprise in baseball, and I can't argue with that. If you think about it, how many people have gone from being a crack addict to succeeding at anything, especially something as demanding as major league baseball?”

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]