The legend of Billy Hamilton grew even larger last night, as he became the king of steals of the professional baseball world.
Hamilton, the speedy Cincinnati Reds prospect, used a four steal night to re-write the record books on steals. The previous record of 145 was held by the also speedy Vince Coleman from back in 1983 for the class A Macon team. The record breaking theft by Hamilton played out like this as his Pensacola Blue Wahoos were playing the Montgomery Biscuits in AA ball in Pensacola.
Billy Hamilton came to bat in the 3rd inning with 2 outs. He laced a pitch to leftfield. Three pitches later, he stole 2nd to tie Coleman. On the next pitch he took 3rd, barely beating the throw to break the record. He received the base with the Wahoos logo on it. The base and his shoes will be sent to Cooperstown for all to enjoy.
So we have a new king and his name is Billy Hamilton.
I have been writing about Billy Hamilton since the first month of the season when he was in Bakersfield. All he has done is steal, now, 147 bases, been clocked in an inside the park homerun at 13.8 seconds (and he was in a trot halfway home from third) and has made spectacular play after play at shortstop. More importantly than that, he is getting very accustomed to AA ball. He has improved his batting average to .301, on-base-percentage to .425 and has hit safely in 8 of the last 10 games. (You can even add him to the list of people who say they can beat Usain Bolt.)
There is no doubt he is a game changer and will be a great addition to the Reds team when they call him up – presumably in September. Speed kills and there is no one more lethal than Billy Hamilton.