by Alex Poletti
While Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was the star of the show during the first round of the 2019 Home Run Derby, breaking Josh Hamilton’s first-round record, the slugger’s 29 home runs are no match for Franklin Anderson, a Cleveland native, who hit 30 homers in his backyard.
“Vladdy was mashing out there tonight, but he shoulda seen me in the backyard,” Anderson, whose friends hesitantly call him Franko, says. “The fence couldn’t hold me.”
Anderson, 34, hosted a personal derby, in which he was the only contestant. While no sources can verify the backyard slugger’s statistics—the small gathering at Anderson’s house were not paying attention—they are likely accurate, given the fence is only 40 feet away from the designated home plate, marked in Anderson’s back yard by a piece of his wife’s porcelain.
“Sure, I was swinging a wiffle bat and hitting tennis balls, but I was clearly hitting dingers,” Anderson says. His masculinity is as fragile as it seems. “I got the muscle to back up the power.”
There also seemed to be no time limit for Anderson’s display, while Guerrero was limited to just 4:30, including bonus time.
“Frank was out there for three or four hours,” Shane Drake, a work associate invited over to the house for dinner, reccals. “The rest of us were having dinner with his family, but he was still out there trying to hit some tennis balls over thirty-five feet.”
Anderson displays his muscle through a sleeveless Brohio shirt, self cut. At 5’9, the Akron-born baseball fan lacks the physical presence of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton or even the 6’2 Guerrero, but he makes up for it in pure bravado.
“Those balls were gone, and I mean gone,” Anderson says of his home runs, most of which barely scraped the white-picket fence. “Does Vladdy have a nicer swing? Maybe. But if you give me that bat and those pitches, I could hit it out of Progressive.”
Anderson was in attendance for Guerrero’s first round, sitting in the right field second deck. After each of the former MLB top prospect’s homers, Anderson loudly proclaimed that he could hit a ball further.
“470? That’s nothing, man,” Anderson says in a fragile tone. “When you got these guns, 470 is cake.”
Cake, coincidentally, was a key part of Anderson’s diet when preparing for the derby. Sources say that Anderson has officially challenged Guerrero Jr. to a one-on-one derby. So far, the rookie has issued no response.