Reds prospect Billy Hamilton steals himself a place in professional baseball history
By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor
Cincinnati Reds minor leaguer Billy Hamilton firmly placed himself in the baseball record books Tuesday night in Pensacola, Fla., by swiping his 146th stolen base of the season.
The mark topped the previous pro record of 145 set by Vince Coleman 29 years ago and is 16 more than the MLB record set by Rickey Henderson back in 1982.
Hamilton, a 21-year-old shortstop, has been caught stealing 33 times this season — a number that tops a more vital number for baseball card collectors, 15, which is total for certified autographs. (Need an checklist or OPG? Click here.)
Hamilton’s latest sig can be found in the 2012 Goodwin Champions multisport release that arrived last week from Upper Deck, while all of his other autographs were released by TRISTAR in three previous prospect-focused products, 2009 Prospects Plus and the 2010 and 2011 TRISTAR Pursuit sets. His first MLB-licensed autographs will come in upcoming Bowman prospects sets from Topps later this year, according to preliminary checklists that are subject to change.
Overall, Hamilton appears on 127 different cards presently valued at more than $1,400. His MLB-licensed card debut came in 2009 Bowman Draft and his Red 1/1 from that product sold for $600 on eBay back on July 14. More recently, a Gold Refractor version of his Chrome card from the product — graded a BGS 9.5 and limited to just 50 copies — sold for $499.99 on Aug. 9.
For the season, Hamilton is hitting .318 between two levels with two home runs, 44 RBI, 77 walks and 101 strikeouts. Baseball America ranked him the No. 2 prospect in the Reds organization after last season.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.