Billy Hamilton is off to a historic base-stealing pace to start the 2015 season
Update: Billy Hamilton now has seven stolen bases in four games to start the season.
In his first three games of the 2015 MLB season, Billy Hamilton stole six bases. That's the fastest start to a season in 28 years. And since 1900, there is only one other Major Leaguer to swipe at least six bases in three games.
Here's Hamilton's first stolen base of the season, a second-to-third dash off the Pirates' Tony Watson:
It was a modest start -- that was Hamilton's only stolen base of the game. So, he went ahead and nabbed three bases -- second twice, third once -- in the Reds' second game.
Hamilton took second twice during the series' finale, including this steal on a pitch-out in which Josh Harrison was literally spun around:
Hamilton's baserunning to begin the season isn't just awesome to watch (no other player has more than two steals), it's historic. Only one other player has stolen at least six bases in his first three games to start a season since 1900: Vince Coleman in 1987, who ended up stealing 109 bases that season for the Cardinals.
Another note: In 1889 and 1891 a player stole 111 bases, which is tied for the sixth all-time highest single-season total. That player? Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton. Just sayin'.
In 168 career games, present-day Hamilton has 75 total stolen bases and four three-SB games. He is, as they say, really fast. Based on an MLB Statcast analysis from last season, Hamilton hit a max speed of 21.2 MPH on a steal of third. That's like running a 3.86 in the 40-yard dash. It's a wonder how he ever gets caught stealing -- though he led the league last year, he hasn't been caught yet in 2015.
Where is Hamilton's historic pace coming from? When asked, he told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that it comes down to preparation, timing -- and Joey Votto's own strong start:
So, yeah. While Adrian Gonzalez is blowing minds with his five-home runs out of the gate, Billy Hamilton is on the basepaths, wreaking historic havoc.