Since I watched Peter Bourjos hit a triple about a year ago, watching extremely fast baseball players run extremely fast has been my favorite part of baseball. Then this morning I read Kevin Goldstein's Ten Pack, which included this about Billy Hamilton:
Hamilton has been hot all year, but he kicked it up a notch over the past week, going 13-for-28 with 15 stolen bases in his last seven games. That's not a typo: Fifteen.
And now I think I like reading about fast players even more than watching fast players. I just went through Billy Hamilton's game logs for 2012, and I'm a little shaky. Really. Got a little sweat, got a little short breathing. The 29 stolen bases in 23 games are just the beginning.
Billy Hamilton has reached on eight infield singles. He has been thrown out by infielders 14 times. When Billy Hamilton hits the ball on the ground to an infielder, and the infielder fields the ball cleanly, Billy Hamilton is hitting .364.*
He also reached on an error. So when Billy Hamilton hits the ball at an infielder, he reaches nearly 40 percent of the time.
Billy Hamilton has also reached on a catcher's throwing error on a third strike. He has also advanced on a catcher's throwing error, and on a pitcher's errant pickoff attempt. He has scored on a fielder's choice when the catcher dropped a throw home.
Billy Hamilton has advanced seven bases on wild pitches.
Pitchers have committed three balks while Billy Hamilton was on base.
Billy Hamilton has scored from third when the catcher threw to first to complete another batter's strikeout.
And Billy Hamilton scored the walk-off run on April 20 on a sacrific fly. To the second baseman.
Game logs can't really tell me whether Billy Hamilton's speed caused all, most, or just some of these things. But there are just so many of these things.
*If you remove bunts and bunt attempts, it is probably more like .333, but the game log descriptions aren't always super clear on bunts vs. non-bunts.