07/14/2003 11:20 PM ET
Sheffield out after first round
Braves slugger hit four dingers in Home Run Derby
Sheffield highlights: 56k | 300k
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Gary Sheffield might hit the baseball harder than anyone in the game, but he is not a man who fares well in home run hitting competitions.
A tiebreaker, which took into account season home run totals, prevented Sheffield from advancing into the second round of Monday's CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby at U.S. Cellular Field. The Braves right fielder has come up short trying to get out of the first round in each of the three times he has entered the event.
Sheffield hit four homers in the first round to match the totals of Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols, who have respectively hit 28 and 27 homers this season. The season totals of these Cardinals sluggers exceeded Sheffield's (22) and enabled them to grab the final two spots in the second round.
"It's not as easy as it looks," Sheffield said Monday afternoon. "There's a lot of pressure on you when you get up there and everybody has nothing else to watch but you."
Pujols, who was the top vote-getter in this year's All-Star balloting, matched a round-record with 14 homers in the second round. But the Cardinals outfielder hit just eight homers in the final round and lost to the Anaheim's Garrett Anderson.
Sheffield, Pujols and Edmonds will make up the National League's starting outfield in Tuesday's All-Star Game. This is the second time Sheffield has been elected to start. His previous start came when he represented the Marlins in the 1993 contest.
With Cubs bullpen catcher Benny Cadahia pitching to him, Sheffield hit two homers in a row with five outs and added two more before recording his 10th and final out. Cadahia, who is the brother of Braves minor league field coordinator Chino Cadahia, threw to Sammy Sosa when he won the Home Run Derby at Turner Field in 2000.
"I had never thrown to Sheffield before," Benny Cadahia said. "We talked a little bit earlier about what he liked. You can fall behind real quick in these things and then just have to play catch up. That's what happened to Sheffield tonight."
In order to avoid the tiebreaker, Sheffield needed Jason Giambi, the defending champion and final batter of the first round, to hit less than four homers. The Yankees slugger had five outs before hitting 10 homers on his next 12 swings.
Sheffield's performance was an improvement on the homerless outing he endured in the 1996 event at Veterans Stadium. He hit four homers while representing the Padres in the 1992 competition in San Diego.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.