Billy Hamilton is on fire—fittingly, he plays for the Bakersfield Blaze, High-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Hamilton has reached a feat that would even catch Rickey Henderson's attention. No, really.
In Monday night's game against Lake Elsinore, Hamilton stole his 100th base of the season.
On July 2nd.
The Blaze played its 78th game on Monday. Going into the night, Hamilton had 98 steals. Nothing was going to stop him, and, over the spring and summer, nobody has had the ability to.
This kid is lightning-fast. He could run down the whole California coast as fast as it takes Mo Vaughn to go from the batter's box to first base.
Hamilton clearly leads all of professional baseball in steals. The league he plays in is the California League. In the Cal League, the next two closest stolen base leaders combine to have 88 steals.
The top four in the steals department in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League add up to 103 steals.
In the majors, the top four in steals—Dee Gordon, Tony Campana, Michael Bourn and Mike Trout—combine for a total of 98 steals. A kid in Single-A has 100, mind you.
Like most people who will read this, not many know who Billy Hamilton is.
Well, let's check it out.
Will Billy Hamilton break the pro baseball record of 145 steals?
Hamilton is currently hitting .327, going into Tuesday with 104 hits, 74 runs, 29 RBI, 17 doubles, nine triples and even has the power to hit a home run—one, in fact. He also has 142 total bases.
No one is talking about his power, though.
It's his speed.
To no one's surprise, right-handed pitchers don't like this kid. Hamilton has 75 of his 100 stolen bases on righties.
Before the Cal League All-Star Break, Hamilton had 80 steals.
In the month of June, he stole a base 38 times.
If you're wondering how many times he was caught stealing, he has been. No one is perfect. Hamilton has been thrown out on attempted steals 21 times. Not too shabby, though.
Vince Coleman has the professional record with 145, and Hamilton is on pace to fly by that record.
As for Henderson, when he broke the MLB record in 1983, he stole his 73rd base in the 78th game for the Oakland A's.
Most experts don't think either record could be broken, but Billy Hamilton could prove them wrong even before they blink an eye.