Billy Hamilton stole four bases in the Pensacola Blue Wahoos’ 4-2 loss to the Montgomery Biscuits last night, giving him 147 steals in 2012 and setting a new professional baseball single-season record.
Hamilton, 21, the Cincinnati Reds’ affiliate’s shortstop, passed Vince Coleman’s previous mark of 145 stolen bases 20 years to the day after Coleman and Donnell Nixon eclipsed Rickey Henderson’s record of 130 thefts in a season.
With two outs in the bottom of the third inning of the first game of a doubleheader at Pensacola’s Bayfront Stadium, Hamilton lined a single into right field to reach for the second time in the contest. Hamilton then took off for second and swiped the base just under a strong and accurate throw from Montgomery catcher Mark Thomas. Three pitches later, the Mississippi native ran on an 0-2 pitch and dove head-first into third base ahead of Thomas’ throw to claim the record.
Both the record-tying and -breaking bases that Hamilton stole were immediately taken off the field by Blue Wahoos personnel, in addition to Hamilton’s helmet. Earlier in the game, he began Pensacola’s first inning with a walk, before taking second on an error and notching his 144th steal by swiping third. He also added another theft in the eighth frame to extend his mark to 147.
The historic moment came in the speedster’s 120th game of the season and his 38th contest with Pensacola. Before being promoted to Pensacola on July 11, Hamilton stole 104 bases in 82 games with High-A Bakersfield. Hamilton through his 38 games with the Blue Wahoos has tallied 42 thefts.