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Somebody give Billy Hamilton a gold medal. Sure, the Olympics are over, but holy moly, the catch the Cincinnati Reds centerfielder made Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers is worth a medal and a trip to the top of a podium.
Carlos Beltran hit a ball to left-center that seemed like a sure-thing gapper off the bat. Hamilton wasn’t shifted toward left, so to catch this one, he was going to cover a lot of ground … and boy, did he.
Hamilton sprinted 123 feet, according to MLB.com’s Statcast, then dove head-first into the wall to make the catch. That’s the baseball equivalent to running a 40-yard dash while tracking a fly ball, then diving to catch it. Wow.
Baseball fans everywhere gushed over Andrew Benintendi’s fantastic catch Monday night against the Rays. It was very good, but he covered 91.8 feet compared to Hamilton’s 123. Just look at where Hamilton started compared to where he made the catch. It doesn’t even seem possible:
After the game, Reds pitcher Dan Straily told reporters that from his view on the mound, there was no way Hamilton would get there.
“That was the first one all year I thought there was no shot he was getting to it,” Straily said. “I was in front of the mound and I started to move to go back up third. It was just amazing. I really did not think he was going to get to that ball. Sure enough, he found a way.”
Hamilton traveled 22 mph, according to Statcast. By comparison, Usain Bolt’s fastest recorded 100-meter team had him going 27.8 mph. So, Hamilton’s speed wasn’t Bolt-esque here, but he also had to track and catch a baseball.
It might be a good time for someone linked to Hamilton or the Reds to re-imagine this classic Ken Griffey Jr. Nike commercial:
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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