Vince Coleman is a symbol of great base stealing, but on Tuesday night Billy Hamilton became the greatest of all time.
OK, with apologies to Rickey Henderson, that's admittedly taking things a bit far.
But Hamilton did finish his inevitable quest to break Vince Coleman's minor-league record for stolen bases in a season, swiping his 146th bag of the year in the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos game against the Montgomery Biscuits. Hamilton, who was profiled by our own Jeff Passan last month, needed only 120 games to break the record that Coleman originally set in 1983. And while he entered Tuesday's game needing three stolen bases to make history, he made short work of that too, stealing three bases over the first three innings.
Here's the video of Hamilton breaking Coleman's mark by stealing third in the third:As you can see, Hamilton passed on going with Henderson's bag-over-the-head approach to celebrating, settling instead for a couple of hugs and handshakes as equipment managers took away his helmet and third base for posterity. That sort of low-key approach only makes sense as the Cincinnati Reds' top prospect is itching for a chance to prove he can do it at the major-league level. That chance could come in September once rosters expand, but Hamilton will need to prove he can both get on base against big-league pitching and steal off the arms of big-league catchers to stick on a full-time basis in the future.
Here's hoping he can do that, not only because it'd be a lot of fun to watch as a fan, but also because Hamilton has run out of headlines to write in the minor leagues.
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