Thursday was an ordinary day for Cincinnati center fielder Billy Hamilton, in that it contained some extraordinary things in the Reds’ 4-3 loss in 12 innings at the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Leading off the top of the first, Hamilton dropped a double into shallow left, and a few minutes later he stole third without a throw, putting him in position to score on a sac fly. He wouldn’t reach base again, but in the bottom of the ninth, he did keep things tied, robbing Travis Snider of a possible walk-off, extra-base hit. On the catch, Hamilton managed to leave visible cleat marks on the side of the fence.
The Reds ultimately lost, but the game captured Hamilton in a nutshell. Early in the season, all the talk was about how Hamilton was embarrassing himself at the plate against big-league competition. Some points were arrived at too hastily. Some points were overlooked entirely.
Sure, at the start, Hamilton was dreadful. In the season’s opener, he went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts. Below is a swing he actually attempted some weeks later.
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