Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 5/23/12
ARLINGTON, Texas The Dallas Cowboys found out Wednesday that hitting receivers is a lot easier than hitting a little white ball. Nine members of the NFL team plus coach Jason Garrett participated in a home run derby for charity at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Former Cowboys great Troy Aikman, who's also a spokesman for event sponsor Reliant Energy, took a few swings as well. The event raised 40,000 for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. Tight end John Phillips was the only Cowboy to hit a home run with drive a couple of rows deep over the out-of-town scoreboard in left field. Phillips also hit a ball off the wall in front of the visitor's bullpen and displayed the most power, by far. However, Phillips was bested in the championship round by Garrett, who hit more line drives to the outfield. "He looks like Mickey Mantle, for crying out loud," said Garrett, who seemed surprised to win the trophy. "I wanted to go up there and I was going to kind of do my thing, and I think he was trying to hit them all out. That's why I snuck in the back door." Some of the players had played baseball in high school, but Phillips swung like he was still a star catcher and infielder at Bath County High back in Hot Springs, Virginia. He did so well, he took a few extra swings at the end as a sort of curtain call. "I played in high school, a little bit of Legion and stuff," Phillips said. "I always had a passion for baseball. I like playing it. It was good to get out here and take some cuts again." After some prodding, Phillips revealed he was something of a Barry Bonds back in high school, who drew a lot of intentional walks because of his reputation for hitting long balls. "I got some bombs," said Phillips. "That's one of the greatest feelings in the world, a walk-off home run. I got to do that twice." Receiver Miles Austin also showed some power by hitting a couple of balls to the opposite field that one-hopped the wall in right. "Miles put one off the wall too," Phillips said. "I believe if the wind wasn't blowing in to us righties I'm sure that would have gone out." About 150 kids from the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization were on hand to cheer the players, who earned money for the charity based on balls to the outfield and hitting targets. Cowboys rookies, including first round draft pick Morris Claiborne, shagged balls in the outfield. The veterans got a chance to hit some balls in the batting cages underneath the stadium before going out onto the field. Some of the swings of offensive lineman Doug Free made designated pitcher Tim Crabtree, a former Texas Ranger, a little nervous. "He swings very hard," Crabtree said. "I swear he almost knocked down the L screen one time with a ball he hit." Crabtree said he was impressed with all of the players' swings, although he had to advise most of them to back off the plate so they could extend their arms. "They take up the batter's box, there's no question," Crabtree said. For Phillips, Wednesday's event may mean the extension of his career as a professional athlete. "When this football thing's over with I want to get a tryout!" Phillips joked. RELIANT HOME RUN DERBY RESULTS Miles Austin: 9,100 Dez Bryant: 300 Doug Free: 400 Jason Witten: 5,300 Coach Garrett: 7,800 Jason Hatcher: 5,500 Kevin Ogletree: 400 Sean Lee: 1,200 John Phillips: 8,800 DeMarco Murray: 100 Troy Aikman: 400 Total: 39,300 which was rounded to an even 40,000. Phillips' amount is higher due to the extra hits after the final round. Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire
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