Five years ago, Flava Fraz did it.
Becoming just the second player in Home Run Derby history to win the home run competition in their home ballpark, Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier rang in a new era of Major League Baseball’s midsummer competition in 2015.
After making it to the final round of the 2014 Derby and losing to Oakland Athletics slugger Yoenis Cespedes, Frazier was willed on by Reds fans at Great American Ballpark one year later and needed one swing in bonus time to outslug Los Angeles Dodgers rookie outfielder Joc Pederson, 15-14, in the championship round and capture the Home Run Derby crown.
En route to getting to that final round, Frazier eliminated two-time Derby champ Prince Fielder, 14-13, in the opening round. The Reds’ third baseman went head-to-head with fellow third baseman and eventual 2015 American League MVP Josh Donaldson in the semifinal round. Frazier hit 10 homers to nudge Donaldson’s nine.
Frazier’s older brother, Charlie, was on the mound during that memorable night. Charlie also threw to Todd the previous year and likely was just as hungry—and happy—to help his brother avenge his showing at Target Field in Minnesota.
2015 marked the first year MLB moved to a clock format in the Derby, and this change saw an incredible difference for not only the fans but for the game itself. The original plan was for each competitor to receive five minutes of time at the plate, but rain in the weather forecast forced a change. Gone were the days of competitors hitting only a couple homers and here to stay would be four minutes of chaos.
The move produced huge results. For example, Frazier hit 39 home runs in the 2015 Derby versus just 10 a year prior. Overall, the 2015 Home Run Derby field of players combined to hit 159 homers while 78 were hit in the 2014 event.
Since 2015, the Reds have seen just one representative compete in the home run competition. Outfielder Adam Duvall advanced to the semifinals in 2016 to, ironically enough, square off against Todd Frazier, who was with the Chicago White Sox. Frazier defeated Duvall but lost to Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in the championship round.
That night on July 13 five years ago is likely the highlight of Frazier’s career. Since being traded from the Reds to the White Sox the following offseason, the New Jersey product has seen time with the New York Yankees and New York Mets and is currently in the Texas Rangers organization.