MVP of Yesterday (September 18, 2013): Billy Hamilton!

Billy Hamilton had his first start yesterday- every previous appearance had been as a replacement- and, boy, he had one for the ages. He went 3-4 and had an RBI, 2 walks and 4 stolen bases in the Reds’ 13-inning win over the Astros. The four stolen bases is the most in a players’ first start during the live-ball era (1920-present)

Standings, as usual, under the jump:

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Bo Jackson: Faster than Hamilton?

Early on in the life of this blog, I declared Reds’ farmhand BIlly Hamilton as the fastest man in baseball. Possibly ever. Using some rudimentary math that admittedly had plenty of caveats, I found that they he would be running roughly 17.79 MPH while rounding the bases.

But then, last night, I saw the 30 for 30 documentary, You Don’t Know Bo, about Bo Jackson, the MLB/NFL great who may have gotten into the HoF of both sports if not for a freakish hip injury ended his football career and turned his baseball career into that of a more Dave Kingman-like slugger who could hit well for power but who’s lack of speed (he had a artificial hip, after all) and poor plate discipline cut it severely short of what it could have been.

What is the connection between these two? Well, it was mentioned in the documentary that Bo Jackson, during his NFL combine, ran a 40-yard dash in 4.12 seconds. It’s never been matched in the history of the NFL. By anyone. He would have to be averaging about 19.86 MPH during that dash. As mentioned, Billy Hamilton’s run around the bases (albeit a longer distance and thus likely bringing more fatigue as the run happened) was a “mere” 17.79 MPH. If Jackson could run 100 meters at about a 19.86 MPH pace (again, he probably wouldn’t have, given the differences in distance and the surface being run on, etc.), he’d run it in 11.26 seconds.

And, of course, that doesn’t take into account this.

So was Bo Jackson even faster that Billy Hamilton? Hard to tell, since the examples given about their speed are just so different and they came into being during different time periods (the training today is superior even to 20 years ago, after all). So the world will never know.

I think it’s safe to say that they are both faster than either of us, though. Heck, Bo Jackson now is probably faster than us.

Billy Hamilton is the fastest man alive

Watching the Futures Game out of the corner of my eye a few weeks ago, a guy named Billy Hamilton (Reds Organization) hit a triple. A very, very, fast triple. A triple that, if the outfielders had been slower or the outfield walls has been deeper, he could easily have attempted to make into an inside-the-park home run.

A few days ago, he did hit a inside-the-park home run. Not only that, but he did it in 13.8 seconds… while not even going full-speed near the end. Oh, and he has 109 stolen bases between A and AA this season. The all-time pro record for a season is 145, which Vince Coleman pulled off in A-ball during the 1983 season.

(more after jump)

And Hamilton isn’t exactly a one-trick pony, he hit .323 in a half-season of A-Ball. Barring injury, he could end up as a runner-off-the-bench for the Reds come September. After all, he’s way too fast to just be left in the minors once crunch-time comes, especially for a National League team.

By the way, Hamilton’s dash around the bases in 13.8 seconds- roughly 360 feet- is in itself a impressive athletic feat. It means he was averaging about 17.79 MPH during the run. If Hamilton were to hold that speed for just 100 meters, he’d finish in about 12.57 seconds. That isn’t exactly Usain Bolt, but then again it wasn’t exactly a straight sprint and Hamilton was running on dirt and grass instead of smooth pavement, so the comparison doesn’t really work… does it?

Interestingly, Billy Hamilton was also the name of a Hall of Famer from the late 19th century. “Sliding Billy” Hamilton also was quite the base stealer: he had 914 in his career, which was the most of all time until Lou Brock broke his record in 1978. He still is third overall.

So keep an eye out for Sliding Billy 2.0, he’s running his way through the minors, and it is probably only a matter of time before he is testing the arms of MLB catchers.