Josh Hamilton has certainly overcome -- and continues to overcome -- a lot of obstacles.

Prior to meeting him this spring, I'd seen his story on television. When you watch that and read about it, my first instinct told me not to pass judgment on someone before you know him. When he first came here, he seemed very quiet but he's come out of his shell. He's fun to be around and likes joking with the guys now.

The more I've thought about it, I love his story. It's a story that I think a lot of people can relate to. It's been pretty big in Cincinnati and wherever we've traveled all season.

Josh gets a lot of interview requests. He's very humble overall in my opinion. He does what he's supposed to do. I don't think he's got a big head or anything. But since he's a rookie, we'll be there to put him in place if he ever does. I don't think that will happen, though.

The main thing for the team is that his play has been the big story and not his past. That's the good news. He brings a great attitude and mentality at the plate. He's good in situational plays and knows what he's doing up at the plate and out on the field.

Tools-wise, he's as good as anyone I've seen. His arm is unbelievable. He can run well, especially for a big guy, and if he had kept up the pace he had at the start of the year and didn't get hurt, I would not have seen why he could not have won the Rookie of the Year.

I'm happy for him. It's a great story and he's a great kid. More than anything else, though, he helps the team out and that's what is really important.

David Ross, a veteran catcher, has hit 15 home runs for the Reds this season. Josh Hamilton, the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 1999 draft, returned to the baseball field as a rookie with the Reds this year battling drug addiction. He's batting .292 with 19 homers and 47 RBIs despite missing a month due to a sprained wrist.