I didn’t believe it when I read it for the first time, but the video confirms it’s true: Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton did indeed score from second base on a passed ball on Tuesday afternoon against the Cubs.
In the top of the first inning facing John Lackey, Hamilton worked a one-out walk, then stole second base with Joey Votto batting. Votto then worked a walk, bringing up Jay Bruce. Lackey’s first pitch to Bruce was a curve on the outer portion of the plate, and catcher David Ross just couldn’t come up with it. The ball skipped through his legs towards the brick wall. Ross was lackadaisical in retrieving the ball, assuming Hamilton taking third base was guaranteed and that’s where he’d stop. But Lackey didn’t cover home, so Hamilton kept going. He slid headfirst and touched home plate just as Lackey got there.
According to MLB.com’s Daren Willman, Hamilton reached a top speed of 22.8 MPH. Ridiculous speed.
I do wonder if we’ll get any indignant columns about Ross and Lackey’s lack of hustle.
Another big free agent domino has fallen at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is signing with the Angels on seven-year, $245 million contract, per Jon Heyman.
Rendon, 29, was the top free agent position player. He’s coming off of a season in which he helped the Nationals win their first championship, batting .319/.412/.598 with a league-high 126 RBI and an NL-best 44 doubles along with 34 home runs and 117 runs scored in 646 plate appearances. Rendon also continued to play solid defense at third base. During the postseason, Rendon hit .328/.412/.590 with seven doubles, three homers, 15 RBI, and 11 runs scored in 75 trips to the plate.
The Angels badly needed to make a big free agent splash this offseason, and third base was as good a place as any to do it. Rendon will now slot easily into the middle of the Angels’ lineup along with Mike Trout. It remains to be seen if the Angels are done making moves, but they could use a corner outfielder and another starting pitcher.
Humorously, Rendon has said he’d like to retire by age 35, as Jesse Daugherty of the Washington Post alluded to on the Nationals Talk Podcast. This contract will take him through his age-36 season.