Steve Hamilton

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Steve Hamilton
Born:(1934-11-30)November 30, 1934
Columbia, Kentucky
Died: December 2, 1997(1997-12-02) (aged 63)
Morehead, Kentucky
Batted: LeftThrew: Left
MLB debut
April 23, 1961, for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
August 16, 1972, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 40–31
Earned run average 3.05
Strikeouts 531
Steve Hamilton
Personal information
Born(1934-11-30)November 30, 1934
Columbia, Kentucky
DiedDecember 2, 1997(1997-12-02) (aged 63)
Morehead, Kentucky
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High schoolCharlestown (Charlestown, Indiana)
College Morehead State (1954–1958)
NBA draft 1958 / Round: 2 / Pick: 8th overall
Selected by the Minneapolis Lakers
Playing career1958–1960
Position Forward / Center
Career history
19581960 Minneapolis Lakers
Career NBA statistics
Points 368 (4.5 ppg)
Rebounds 278 (3.4 rpg)
Assists 43 (0.5 apg)
Stats at

Steven Absher Hamilton (November 30, 1934 – December 2, 1997) was a Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Basketball Association (NBA) player. [1]


Baseball career

Hamilton was mostly a relief pitcher during his 12 MLB seasons, including a stint as the New York Yankees closer during the 1968 season. In 421 career games (17 starts) from 1961 to 1972 he had a 40–31 record with 42 saves and a 3.05 earned run average. He pitched 1 inning during the Yankees 1963 World Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers and 2 innings during the Yankees 1964 World Series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, including 1 save. He also pitched in the 1971 NLCS for the San Francisco Giants.

His one complete game shutout was on August 5, 1966, against the Cleveland Indians, while pitching for the New York Yankees. He gave up 5 hits, walked 1 and struck out 3. It was one of only 3 starts he had in the 1966 season. Late in his career Hamilton threw the famed "folly-floater", a high, slow eephus pitch. [1] Other pitchers who have thrown a lob pitch include Rip Sewell and Dave LaRoche.

Basketball career

Attending Morehead State from 1954–1958, in basketball he scored 1,829 points (4th all-time) and established five MSU rebounding records—single-season average (20.1), average career (16.4), single game (38), single season (543), and career (1,675). [2] He was an All-American in 1957, and a two-time All-Ohio Valley Conference First-Team selection. [2]

From 1958 to 1960 he was a power forward/center for the Minneapolis Lakers. [1] He played for the 1958/59 team that lost to the Boston Celtics during the 1959 NBA Finals. Over 2 seasons he averaged 4.5 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game, and 0.5 assists per game.


After his major league career ended, he was a Detroit Tigers coach in 1975 and was the athletic director at his alma mater, Morehead State University. Tommy John, who met Hamilton while both were in the Indians organization, recalled that "he had two prominent physical characteristics, other than his height: a protruding Adam's apple that bobbed as he spoke, and a Nellie Fox-sized wad of chewing tobacco in his cheek." [3]

Hamilton died of colon cancer at his home in Morehead, Kentucky, on December 2, 1997, and was buried in nearby Forest Lawn Garden of Memories. [4]


Hamilton is one of only two people to have played in both a World Series and an NBA finals. (The other person is Gene Conley, who, unlike Hamilton, won both a World Series (in 1957 with the Milwaukee Braves) and an NBA finals (from 1959 to 1961 with the Boston Celtics). Conley is the only player to achieve both feats.)

Hamilton is one of 13 athletes to have played in both the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. The thirteen are: Danny Ainge, Frank Baumholtz, Gene Conley, Chuck Connors, Dave DeBusschere, Johnny Gee, Dick Groat, Hamilton, Mark Hendrickson, Cotton Nash, Ron Reed, Dick Ricketts and Howie Schultz. [5]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 Litsky, Frank (December 4, 1997). "Steve Hamilton, 62, 'Floater' Pitcher for Yankees". New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  2. 1 2 "The Official Site of Morehead State University Athletics".
  3. John, Tommy; Valenti, Dan (1991). TJ: My Twenty-Six Years in Baseball. New York: Bantam. p. 50. ISBN   0-553-07184-X.
  4. Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3 ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 312. ISBN   9781476625997.