First off, I know what you’re thinking.
“Iron Man” Josh Hamilton? If anything the born again Texas Ranger is a subject of the opposite.
But no, Josh Hamilton is Iron Man. From suit to suit, Josh Hamilton keeps reinventing himself.
In 2008, Marvel gave us Iron Man.
In 2008, Jon Daniels gave us Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton’s past is a story unto itself. (Note: I will always recommend the Beyond Belief novel to help understand Josh Hamilton’s battle)
His whole life he was akin to the “genius billionaire playboy philanthropist” that Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark describes himself as in The Avengers.
Whether it’s a piece of shrapnel to the chest or a devilish drug addiction spawned from unfamiliar surroundings and an unbearably lonely new life, the parallels in the Tony Stark-Josh Hamilton narrative just keep on piling up, from invincible armored suits to a different uniform tucked in before going to play a baseball game.
Josh Hamilton’s career started in Tampa Bay as a prodigal son. This was the first time he donned a suit of armor, trying to protect himself from a world he was simply assumed to be prepared for.
Then, the struggles, the troubles, the relapse…the hell. Josh put on a new suit as he ventured to Cincinnati.
There were still so many question marks, anxieties and worries attached to this fallen idol.
Then the Texas Rangers took a chance on him.
If you follow the Iron Man movies, the third suit –or the third team–is the moneymaker. The one that stuck. The Texas Rangers stuck for Josh.
What followed was five years of almost spotless stardom, incredible team success, the realizing of true potential and fan favorite Josh Hamilton was on top of the world.
But as it goes for any hero, sometimes the villain has to win. Sometimes self-inflicted wounds even threaten to derail something that has gone from a dream to a nightmare to a living hell to a nightmare again to a long, long journey to living the dream after all. Iron Man 2.
Whether it was that wormhole in space (I seriously hope you have an idea what I’m talking about at this point) that threatened to cut your story short as the hero who sacrificed, or gave you another new perspective on life, both things happened to the fictional Tony Stark and the very real Josh Hamilton.
In Iron Man Three, Tony Stark burns through suit after suit after suit, even going as far as building a “Legion” of suits to protect himself from his own fears, insecurities and the external world that was threatening to crack open his dream world and flood the gates with hate.
Or, you know, playing for Arte Moreno and the Los Angeles Angels.
The former fan favorite Texas Ranger hero became a pariah. A villain. He was the creator of evil, not the defender of good.
But Josh Hamilton wants to be loved. So like Stark in the recently released Avengers: Age of Ultron he built not a suit, but almost a new self to police his own world and those around him.
It backfired, and even though the current movie version of Tony Stark is in a bit of a moral limbo due to time only moving as fast as a movie’s production can go, real life Josh Hamilton is back in Texas playing hero again.
Josh Hamilton wants to be loved, it’s an incredibly desirable attribute. But it also got him into a life altering mess back when he was just becoming this Feltman-proclaimed version of Iron Man Josh Hamilton.
He tried so hard to be loved. But life wasn’t giving him that love. There was animosity, doubt…still hate.
Sometimes you just have to let pieces fall into place. Have a team of Super Heroes and benefactors around you. Or have an Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder, Jeff Bannister, Jon Daniels and thousands of fans cheering you on every night.
Josh Hamilton is back home. He’s wearing a new suit, and there isn’t one scratch on it yet.
He’s a Hero Again.
Photo Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports