1985: Tom Brunansky
The 1985 Home Run Derby was the first official one in Major League Baseball history, but the event had its roots established long before then thanks to a TV show. The original Home Run Derby took place in December of 1959 and was a quick competition taped at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles.
The show aired for seven months in 1960 and featured some of the game’s greatest sluggers including eventual Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who squared off with Willie Mays in one episode of the series.
When the event was reincarnated in 1985, there were several rule changes (including going from nine “innings” to two) and the event was run as a non-televised exhibition for the fans at the All-Star game. To appeal to the hometown crowd, Tom Brunansky was one of the players selected to take his swings and did well, smacking four home runs over the fence in his two innings.
While Brunansky’s total was good enough to force a tie with future Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Eddie Murphy and Carlton Fisk, it wasn’t enough to take home the title. That honor would go to Cincinnati’s Dave Kingman, who hit six home runs to win the first official Home Run Derby.