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.