Bonds was just solidifying his place as a Bay Area baseball legend, while Big Mac’s reign as Oakland’s lone remaining Bash Brother was slowly coming to an end. (McGwire would be traded to St. Louis the following year.) But when the two went head-to-head in the finals of the 1996 Home Run Derby at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, it was pure star power on display. Bonds went through nine outs without a homer … before hitting three in a row to take the crown, 3-2, in the finals.
3. Cal Ripken Jr. sets a Derby record with 12 homers
After Ryne Sandberg won the 1990 Home Run Derby at Wrigley Field with a measly three homers — and five out of eight players were shut out — one couldn’t be blamed if they figured that maybe, just maybe, this Home Run Derby thing had run its course after six go-arounds. Ripken’s record-smashing 12 bombs the following season arguably gave the event the lasting popular momentum it harnesses to this day.