Fittingly, Billy Hamilton speedily eclipsed Vince Coleman tonight.
In the first game of a doubleheader against Montgomery, the Reds shortstop prospect stole four bases to surpass Coleman's single-season minor league record. Hamilton now has 147 steals, two more than Coleman. Hamilton's 147 steals are a record for any professional league. Rickey Henderson holds the Major League record with 130 steals.
Hamilton led off the bottom of the first by walking. He took off for second base as Biscuits pitcher Kyle Lobstein tried to pick him off. Lobstein's throw was wide of the mark, allowing Hamilton to reach second on the error. He then stole third for his 144th steal. Hamilton's next at-bat came with two outs in the third. He singled to right field, then quickly stole second and third before Ryan LaMarre struck out. When Hamilton swiped the record-breaking base, he quickly called time before breaking out in a large grin. Grounds crew quickly exchanged the batting helmet he was wearing and the base he stole to set them aside.
Hamilton added another steal in the eighth inning. With 43 steals since his promotion to Double-A Pensacola, he now leads all of Double-A in steals. With 104 steals for high Class A Pensacola before his promotion, he also leads all Class A players. In the second game of the doubleheader, Hamilton was held without a steal.
With 252 steals, Hamilton also has the most steals in back-to-back minor league seasons. Hamilton is one of three players to have two 100+ steal seasons in the minors. The year after Coleman stole 145 bases in low Class A Macon, he stole 101 bags with Triple-A Louisville. Donnell Nixon, whose 144 steals with high Class A Bakersfield in 1983 is now the third best minor league total, stole 102 bags with Double-A Chattanooga in 1984.
The year Coleman set the record, he missed 30 games with a broken hand. But because he set the record so quickly, Hamilton isn't far off of Coleman's per game pace either. Hamilton broke the record in his 120st game of the season. Coleman played 113 games in 1983.
Here's a look at the offensive numbers of the top 10 minor league single-season stolen base leaders.
|James Johnston||1913||San Francisco||24||201||749||111||228||34||4||2||124||.304||.368|