SAN DIEGO -- In 2008, several Major Leaguers from the Virginia Beach area held a home-run-hitting contest to raise money for a new high school's baseball program.
David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds, and the Upton brothers -- B.J. andJustin -- were among the participants, but none could defeat Michael Cuddyer.
Wright, captain of the National League team for the 2013 Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Citi Field in New York on July 15 -- didn't forget. As expected, he invited Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to be part of his four-man team. In somewhat of a surprise to those not familiar with Cuddyer, who has increased his profile with a strong first half this season, Wright invited Cuddyer.
Also on Wright's team is Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. Some fan contingents were hoping the Pirates' Pedro Alvarez or the Phillies' Domonic Brown would be invited. But Cuddyer, who went into Monday night's game against the Padres with 15 homers, has shown his ability to the man who counts.
"I won it. I beat those guys," Cuddyer said of the 2008 contest. "I don't know if that helped David's decision or not.
"I'm excited. I can't tell you how excited I am. Being on the All-Star team is awesome and this is just icing on the cake for me. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Right when David called me and asked me, I was champing at the bit."
Gonzalez participated in the Home Run Derby last year in Kansas City. Gonzalez suffered a right middle finger sprain on Sunday and missed Monday's game, but expects to be healed before the break, and be able to participate in all All-Star Week activities.
"I'm just going to try to enjoy it and take good swings out there," said Gonzalez, who has been in three such contests in his native Venezuela and once narrowly lost to Miguel Cabrera. "It is long and I get tired, but I enjoy it. I take it like a regular BP. I always try to hit long ones. Hopefully, I'll put on a good show for our fans.
"Cuddyer can hit the ball over the fence. He does have power. He can put on a good show."
Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells, who has often thrown to Cuddyer and Gonzalez in batting practice, will be brought to New York to pitch to the Rockies' sluggers.
The 2013 Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 6 p.m. MT on Monday, July 15. In Canada, the derby will be televised by Rogers Sportsnet.
Fans can also download the official MLB.com Home Run Derby Game, featuring 24 sluggers from the 2010-2012 Home Run Derby events. Connect and challenge gamers on the worldwide leaderboards. Available for free on the Apple App Store: atmlb.com/12S7nch
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.