Billy Hamilton (baseball, born 1866)

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Billy Hamilton
Billy Hamilton Baseball Card.jpg
Outfielder
Born:(1866-02-16)February 16, 1866
Newark, New Jersey
Died: December 15, 1940(1940-12-15) (aged 74)
Worcester, Massachusetts
Batted: LeftThrew: Right
MLB debut
July 31, 1888, for the Kansas City Cowboys
Last MLB appearance
September 16, 1901, for the Boston Beaneaters
MLB statistics
Batting average .344
Hits 2,154
Home runs 40
Runs batted in 742
Stolen bases 912
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg
Induction 1961
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

William Robert "Sliding Billy" Hamilton (February 16, 1866 December 15, 1940) was an American professional baseball player in Major League Baseball (MLB) during the 19th-century. He was notable for his offensive skills as a hitter and as a base stealer. He played for the Kansas City Cowboys, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Beaneaters between 1888 and 1901. Hamilton was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1961. As of early 2019, he is third on the all-time list of career stolen bases leaders.

Baseball Sport

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objectives of the offensive team are to hit the ball into the field of play, and to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, and the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

Batting (baseball) baseball offensive act of facing the pitcher and attempting to hit the ball into play

In baseball, batting is the act of facing the opposing pitcher and trying to produce offense for one's team. A batter or hitter is a person whose turn it is to face the pitcher. The three main goals of batters are to become a baserunner, to drive runners home, or to advance runners along the bases for others to drive home, but the techniques and strategies they use to do so vary. Hitting uses a motion that is virtually unique to baseball, one that is rarely used in other sports. Hitting is unique because unlike most sports movements in the vertical plane of movement hitting involves rotating in the horizontal plane.

Contents

Early life

Hamilton was born on February 16, 1866 [1] in Newark, New Jersey. His parents, Samuel and Mary Hamilton, had emigrated to New Jersey from Ireland. Biographer Roy Kerr writes that evidence suggests that Hamilton was descended from the Ulster Scots people. (As an adult, Hamilton was known to proudly proclaim his Scottish ancestry.) When Hamilton was a small child, his family moved to Clinton, Massachusetts. [2] He worked in a Clinton cotton mill as a young teenager. [3]

Newark, New Jersey City in Essex County, New Jersey, U.S.

Newark is the most populous city in the U.S. state of New Jersey and the seat of Essex County. As one of the nation's major air, shipping, and rail hubs, the city had a population of 282,090 in 2018, making it the nation's 73rd-most populous municipality, after being ranked 63rd in the nation in 2000.

The Ulster Scots, also called Ulster Scots people or, outside the British Isles, Scots-Irish (Scotch-Airisch), are an ethnic group in Ireland, found mostly in the province of Ulster and to a lesser extent in the rest of Ireland. Their ancestors were mostly Protestant Presbyterians Lowland Scottish migrants, the largest numbers coming from Galloway, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire and the Scottish Borders, with others coming from further north in the Scottish Lowlands and, to a much lesser extent, from the Highlands.

Clinton, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Clinton is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 13,606 at the 2010 census.

Professional career

Hamilton broke into the major leagues in the American Association with the Kansas City Cowboys in 1888. He established himself as a star the following season by batting .301 with 144 runs and 111 stolen bases. In 1890, the Cowboys, who were ceasing operations, sold Hamilton to the Philadelphia Phillies. The next year he led the NL in batting average (.340), runs scored (141) and hits (179). For a third consecutive season, Hamilton led the NL in stolen bases.

The American Association (AA) was a professional baseball league that existed for 10 seasons from 1882 to 1891. Together with the National League (NL), founded in 1876, the AA participated in an early version of the World Series seven times versus the champion of the NL in an interleague championship playoff tournament. At the end of its run, several AA franchises joined the NL. After 1891, the NL existed alone, with each season's champions being awarded the prized Temple Cup (1894-1897).

Kansas City Cowboys (American Association) professional baseball team, major league American Association 1888 to 1889

The Kansas City Cowboys were a professional baseball team based in Kansas City, Missouri for two seasons from 1888 to 1889 in the American Association. They were the third, and last incarnation of this franchise name, following the Kansas City Cowboys of the Union Association in 1884 and the Kansas City Cowboys of the National League in 1886. The franchise initially used Association Park as their home field in 1888, then moved to Exposition Park for last game that season, and all of 1889.

Batting average (baseball)

In baseball, the batting average (BA) is defined by the number of hits divided by at bats. It is usually reported to three decimal places and read without the decimal: A player with a batting average of .300 is "batting three-hundred." If necessary to break ties, batting averages could be taken beyond the .001 measurement. In this context, a .001 is considered a "point," such that a .235 batter is 5 points higher than a .230 batter.

In 1892, Hamilton hit both a leadoff and game-ending home run in the same game. Only Vic Power (1957), Darin Erstad (2000), Reed Johnson (2003) and Ian Kinsler (2009) have accomplished the same feat. [4] He hit .380 in 1893, which led the major leagues.

Darin Erstad American baseball player and coach

Darin Charles Erstad is an American former professional baseball player and the former head coach of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers baseball team. Prior to 2007, he had played with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim franchise (1996-2006) before signing with the Chicago White Sox in 2007. He batted and threw left-handed. He was a two-time MLB All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove Award winner.

Reed Johnson Major League Baseball outfielder in the Miami Marlins organization

Reed Cameron Johnson is an American former professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, and Washington Nationals.

Ian Kinsler American baseball player

Ian Michael Kinsler is an American professional baseball second baseman for the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, and Boston Red Sox. With the Red Sox, he won the 2018 World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Philadelphia outfielders Hamilton, Sam Thompson, Ed Delahanty and Tuck Turner all hit over .400 in 1894. That year Hamilton set the all-time standard for most runs scored in a season (198); since then, Babe Ruth has come closest to Hamilton in runs scored, with 177 in 1921, setting the American League and modern MLB record. Hamilton also set the record for most stolen bases in one game, with seven on August 31, 1894. He set the record for most consecutive games scoring one or more runs, with 35 runs in 24 games in July–August 1894. [5]

Sam Thompson American baseball player

Samuel Luther "Big Sam" Thompson was an American professional baseball player from 1884 to 1898 and with a brief comeback in 1906. At 6 feet, 2 inches, the Indiana native was one of the larger players of his day and was known for his prominent handlebar mustache. He played as a right fielder in Major League Baseball for the Detroit Wolverines (1885–88), Philadelphia Phillies (1889–1898) and Detroit Tigers (1906). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

Ed Delahanty Major League Baseball outfielder

Edward James Delahanty, nicknamed "Big Ed", was an American professional baseball player, who spent his Major League Baseball (MLB) playing career with the Philadelphia Quakers, Cleveland Infants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Washington Senators. He was renowned as one of the game's early power hitters, and while primarily a left fielder, also spent time as an infielder. Delahanty won a batting title, batted over .400 three times, and has the fifth-highest career batting average in MLB history. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, in 1945. Delahanty died falling into Niagara Falls or the Niagara River, after being removed from a train while intoxicated.

Tuck Turner American baseball player

George A. Turner was a 19th-century Major League Baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Browns.

Hamilton led the league in steals for a fifth time in 1895. In 1896, Hamilton moved to Boston, for whom he played his final six seasons. Although his numbers declined, Hamilton still scored over 100 runs in all but two of those seasons.

Hamilton retired after the 1901 season. Over his career he compiled 912 (or 937; see this article's "legacy" section) stolen bases, a .344 batting average and 1690 runs in 1591 games; he is one of only three players to average more than one run per game played. His .455 career on-base percentage ranks fourth all-time behind Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and John McGraw, and his 912 stolen bases ranks third behind Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock.

On-base percentage

In baseball statistics, on-base percentage is a statistic generally measuring how frequently a batter reaches base. Specifically, it records the ratio of the batter's times-on-base (TOB) to their number of plate appearances. It first became an official MLB statistic in 1984.

Ted Williams American baseball player, member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the last baseball player to bat .400 in a season

Theodore Samuel Williams was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played his entire 19-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career as a left fielder for the Boston Red Sox from 1939 to 1960; his career was interrupted only by mandatory military service during World War II and the Korean War. Nicknamed "The Kid," "The Splendid Splinter," "Teddy Ballgame," and "The Thumper," Williams is regarded as one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. Williams was a nineteen-time All-Star, a two-time recipient of the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player Award, a six-time AL batting champion, and a two-time Triple Crown winner. He finished his playing career with a .344 batting average, 521 home runs, and a .482 on-base percentage, the highest of all time. His career batting average is the highest of any MLB player whose career was played primarily in the live-ball era, and ranks tied for 7th all-time.

Babe Ruth American baseball player

George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. was an American professional baseball player whose career in Major League Baseball (MLB) spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 through 1935. Nicknamed "The Bambino" and "The Sultan of Swat", he began his MLB career as a stellar left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but achieved his greatest fame as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees. Ruth established many MLB batting records, including career home runs (714), runs batted in (RBIs) (2,213), bases on balls (2,062), slugging percentage (.690), and on-base plus slugging (OPS) (1.164); the latter still stands as of 2019. Ruth is regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture and is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time. In 1936, Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its "first five" inaugural members.

He is the Philadelphia Phillies career leader in batting average (.361), on-base percentage (.468) and stolen bases (508). He holds Phillies single-season records for on-base percentage (.523 in 1894), runs (196 in 1894), stolen bases (111 in 1891) and times on base (355 in 1894).

Legacy

Though stolen bases were credited differently during Hamilton's career than they are in modern times, he was very proud of his stolen base marks. In 1937, Hamilton lambasted the Sporting News in a letter he wrote to them, stating, "I was and will be the greatest base stealer of all time. I stole over 100 bases on many years and if they ever re-count the record I will get my just reward." [6]

His career steals total differs, based on the source. Hamilton's plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame credits him with 937 steals, [7] while MLB.com credits him with 912 steals [8] and Baseball Reference.com credits him with 914 steals. [9]

Later life

After his playing days ended, Hamilton managed several minor league teams in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and served as a scout with the Boston Nationals. [10]

Hamilton died on December 15, 1940, at his home at 6 Lucian Street in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was survived by his wife Rebecca (Carr) Hamilton, four daughters and two grandchildren. [10] He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1961.

See also

Notes

  1. While most sources list this date of birth, biographer Roy Kerr writes that Newark archives suggest a date of birth of February 15, 1866.
  2. Kerr, pp. 38-39.
  3. Kerr, p. 40.
  4. Andro, Anthony, "Francisco goes back on DL because of pneumonia", Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 7/20/09, accessed 9/16/09
  5. Solomon, Abbot Neil (1988). Baseball Records Illustrated, Quintet Publishing, London.
  6. Russell Roberts (1999) Stolen!: A History of Base Stealing, McFarland, ISBN   0-7864-0650-X Excerpt, pg. 30
  7. Hamilton, Billy. Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved on April 12, 2014.
  8. MLB.com Hamilton stats
  9. Billy Hamilton Statistics and History. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved on April 12, 2014.
  10. 1 2 "Billy Hamilton, 74, ex-baseball star". New York Times. December 16, 1940. Archived from the original on December 17, 1940. Retrieved January 9, 2016.

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