ARLINGTON, Texas – Jason Hatcher deserves the majority of credit for the Cowboys reaching Reliant's goal of raising $40,000 at its Home Run Derby at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Hatcher won the charity competition, which benefitted The Salvation Army, storming past the rest of the field by accounting for $19,000 of the $43,000 raised. Each hit past the fence earned $1,000, and the last pitch gave players the chance to earn $2,000.
The defensive lineman sent four shots way past the shortened fences and all the way over the actual wall, spreading them out to left field and dead center. Hatcher, who played high school baseball, belted three legitimate home runs in the first round before the semifinals and the final showdown against Dez Bryant.
"I hope they break down my film and like what they see and maybe get me a job after I'm done with football," Hatcher joked.
In the process of sending moonshots out of the park, he dethroned last year's champion.
"I finally got to beat Coach (Jason) Garrett," Hatcher said. "I had to sit on it a year with him beating me and talking mess. I got the trophy, so next year hopefully we can do the thing again."
This is the second straight year Reliant participated in the event in Dallas to benefit a local community nonprofit organization. Last year, the event raised $40,000 for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
Bryant, who's not the most avid baseball fan, said if he puts his mind to something he can usually accomplish the feat. He made it deep into the competition, but he cares a lot more about what the competition will mean to others.
"It's always good to raise money for a great cause for people who are in need," Bryant said. "I was one of them when I was growing up who didn't have it all, who was unfortunate. Now that I have it a little bit and I'm able to come out here and help, it's always a blessing."
Manny Rodriguez, Reliant's vice president of sponsorships and community marketing, said Wednesday was a special day to give back to the community and to children in need. He said there's no way to be a part of the Texas community without getting involved with the Cowboys.
"The players actually fight to be here," Rodriguez said. "This is a big deal for them. They like to prove they can play other sports."
Hatcher, Bryant, Garrett, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, DeMarco Murray, Brandon Carr, Jason Witten, Doug Free and Miles Austin all competed in the event with varying degrees of success. They took batting practice from former Rangers outfielder Kevin Mench, who predicted the correct winner.
Murray said he went to the batting cages to practice and made a pact with Lee that they wouldn't be the worst players there after struggling last year. Witten said he's probably better off sticking to his day job, but Carter might have put it best.
"God blessed me with great talent, but baseball's just not my thing," he said.