Billy Hamilton #4 of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos prepares to steal a base during the Mobile Baybears' first game of a doubleheader at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. Billy Hamilton is set to break the minor league record of 145 stolen bases currently held by Vince Coleman of Macon Redbird's 1983 team. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
In 1983, St. Louis Cardinals farmhand Vince Coleman stole 145 bases in the Class-A South Atlantic League. For almost 29 years, that stood as the all-time record in the minor leagues. For that matter, it stood as the all-time record in professional baseball, because no major leaguer has ever stolen more than 130 bases in one season.
Tuesday night, Cincinnati Reds prospect Billy Hamilton set a new single-season professional record with his 146th stolen base. Hamilton, a shortstop with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, stole his 144th base in the first inning, then added his record-tying 145th and record-breaking 146th in the third inning. Here are all three steals, via the local newscast:
The Reds' switch-hitting speedster stole his 147th base later in that game -- setting another new record, of course -- but was shut out in the second game of the Wahoos' double-header against the Montgomery Biscuits.
Hamilton opened this season in the Class-A California League, but last month he was promoted to the Double-A Southern League and hasn't missed a beat with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, with either his base-stealing or his hitting. He might be summoned by the big club for pinch-running duties when the rosters expand in September, but until then Hamilton will undoubtedly add to his record, as the Wahoos have a dozen games left on their schedule.
How good will Billy Hamilton be? Over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels tells all.