From BR Bullpen
Note: This page is for Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton; for the outfielder from the 2010s, click here
William Robert Hamilton
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 6", Weight 165 lb.
- Debut July 31, 1888
- Final Game September 16, 1901
- Born February 15, 1866 in Newark, NJ USA
- Died December 15, 1940 in Worcester, MA USA
 Biographical Information
"Burkett was one of the greatest hitters I've ever seen. But Hamilton was one of the very best ball players." - Hugh Duffy
Sliding Billy Hamilton had one of the highest batting averages of all time, .344, which he accomplished in a 14-year career. He played much of his career in a lively ball era, in the 1890's, and hit .404 in 1894 (his fellow outfielders Sam Thompson and Ed Delahanty also hit over .400 that year). Hamilton added numerous walks to help him get on base, with a lifetime on-base percentage of .455, # 4 on the all-time list.
Hamilton's 192 runs scored in 1894 is still the single-season record, fifteen above anyone else.
"I never saw a runner get a lead off first base like Billy." — Handsome Jack Carney
Hamilton was the all-time leader in stolen bases until Lou Brock broke the record many decades later. He once stole seven bases in a game in 1894.
Primarily a centerfielder, Hamilton had good range.
His minor league career started in 1887 in Waterbury, and he also played in Worcester and Kansas City. After his major league playing days, he was a minor league manager in at least five cities, and also scouted (for the Braves). He also co-owned a minor league team in Worcester, MA.
"Hamilton is one of the wealthiest players in the big League, and out of his earnings he has made investements in real estate that have netted him a considerable fortune." - Sporting Life, November 5, 1898
 Notable Achievements
- 2-time NL Batting Average Leader (1891 & 1893)
- 5-time NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1891, 1893, 1894, 1896 & 1898)
- 2-time NL OPS Leader (1893 & 1898)
- 4-time NL Runs Scored Leader (1891, 1894, 1895 & 1897)
- NL Hits Leader (1891)
- 5-time NL Bases on Balls Leader (1891 & 1894-1897)
- 5-time League Stolen Bases Leader (1889/AA, 1890/NL, 1891/NL, 1894/NL & 1895/NL)
- 4-time NL Singles Leader (1890-1892 & 1894)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 11 (1889-1898 & 1900)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 2 (1894 & 1895)
- 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 9 (1889-1892 & 1894-1898)
- 100 Stolen Bases Seasons: 3 (1889-1891)
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1961
 Records Held
- Runs, season, 192, 1894
- Runs, left handed batter, season, 192, 1894
- Consecutive games scoring a run, 24, 1894
 Further Reading
- Roy Kerr: Sliding Billy Hamilton: The Life and Times of Baseball's First Great Leadoff Hitter, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2010.