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Roller-coaster ride

"Roller-coaster ride" Continued...

But this year, despite more injuries, he has been at the top of his game: leading the league in hitting with a .359 average, slugging 32 homers, and knocking in 100 runs.

After missing 24 games in September because of fractured ribs, Hamilton struggled in the division series against the Tampa Bay Rays, going only 2 for 18 with one RBI. But his teammates came through in the series, winning three games to two.

Then came the championship series against the mighty Yanks, where his bat suddenly came alive. Hamilton hit four homers and reached base in 15 of his 28 plate appearances (seven hits and eight walks-five intentional, an ALCS record).

On Friday night, as the Yankees' powerful Alex Rodriguez struck out to end the game and the series, Hamilton put the evening into perspective: "All throughout the game I was tearing up-is this going to be it tonight?-and thinking about where I was, and everything I went through, and how God was just faithful . . . to bring me out of it."

Traditionally, baseball teams celebrate winning a pennant with a champagne bath. Because they know the struggles of their brother, his Ranger teammates chose to douse him and each other with ginger ale.

"I love my teammates, I love them so much," Hamilton said as he accepted his MVP award. "I don't want to talk about myself. I want to talk about them. We are here as a group. This group is here because they don't know how to fail."
John Dawson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mickey McLean
Mickey McLean

Mickey is executive editor of WORLD Digital. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, teenage daughter, and a dog/administrative assistant named Daisy.

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