That is the only explanation Elvis Andrus(notes) can muster for his Texas Rangers teammate. This season alone, Andrus has seen Hamilton do too many remarkable things to accept that he's not some 6-foot-4, 240-pound uberbeing sent from the great beyond to revolutionize baseball. When Hamilton spent June and July collecting 90 hits in 206 at-bats – a .437 average – Andrus said he realized something.
"He's from some other planet," he said. "I don't know which one. Venus? Some planet where they're pretty good."
Venus does fit Hamilton rather well. Its luminescence is undeniable. Its namesake – the Roman goddess of beauty – quite aptly covers his style of play. And its true color is shrouded by an acidic sheen.
What Hamilton did in 2010 – rescue himself not just from an injury-plagued season but recover from a sobriety slip-up that ended up with pictures of him licking whipped cream off a random woman's chest – was among the remarkable stories in baseball. His personal again caught up with his professional, and Hamilton led baseball with a .359 batting average and .633 slugging percentage. He's the favorite to win the American League MVP award.
And with a victory Saturday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark, the Texas team he carried into the postseason can complete a three-game sweep of the AL's best regular-season team and win its first playoff series in the franchise's 50-year history, dating back to when it was the expansion Washington Senators.
"He's just a different breed," Rangers outfielder David Murphy(notes) said. "He's special, obviously, one of the best players in the game right now, and just fun to watch. There really isn't anything on the baseball field he can't do."
Every Ranger has a unique story of what Hamilton can do. The same freakish athleticism that led to Tampa Bay drafting him No. 1 overall in 1999 still exists today, even after years of crack cocaine abuse left him hollowed out in body and soul. Hamilton lifted himself out of the grips of addiction, returned to baseball, relapsed for one sloppy night last year and came back one more time, better than ever.
Murphy remembers a throw.
"It was a head-high line drive," Murphy said. "I think I told Gary Pettis, our outfield coach, 'There can't have been too many throws like that in the history of the game that were better.'
“He's that type of player. I don't know how long his career's going to be so I don't know how his numbers are going to match up when it's all said and done, but I do know the package that he brings to the field every day – there can't be too many players in the history of the game that have brought what he brings."
"Pitch up and in," Borbon said. "I just remember talking with Murphy and us coming to the realization that there's no way a human can drive that ball. And he took it out opposite field. There are so many things I've seen him do. I'm one of the guys who spends more time with him, being an outfielder, and it's just inhuman the things the guy does."
Never has anyone denied Hamilton's talent. He's capable of being the best player on the planet when he's healthy and clean. Staying both is Hamilton's double-fisted purpose, though one's effect on the other has led to the deepest questions about his long-term viability.
Despite two superstar seasons in three years, the Rangers still don't have Hamilton under a long-term contract. At 29 and still two years from free agency, Hamilton remains risky, according to one Rangers source, because the team worries the crack abuse did irreparable damage and inhibits his ability to stay healthy.
Indeed, cortisone shots have been bimonthly occurrences for Hamilton, first in his right knee and then the cracked ribs that kept him out nearly all of September. Some Rangers players and management had begun to grow concerned with the time it took Hamilton to recover, unsure whether he would be back in time for the series' first game. Hamilton finally returned three games before the postseason and is 2 for 8 against the Rays.
"Even this last month has been a battle for him, but he's gotten back out there," Young said. "As a teammate, as a friend, we're all happy he's able to go out there."
Because they see this as another chapter of his redemption story. First the AL Championship Series. Then the World Series. And untold superstardom beyond that, a quick-smiling, North Carolina-drawling, crazy-oppo-hitting, laser-beam-throwing humanoid from who knows where.
Hamilton hit rock bottom and ascended to the galaxy, and now it's time to go ever farther, to Venus and beyond.