Billy Hamilton, the spark plug of the 2011 record-setting Dayton Dragons, became the 63rd former Dragon to play in the Major Leagues last night when he debuted with the Cincinnati Reds.
In an appropriate start to the big league career for professional baseball's all-time single-season stolen base king, Hamilton entered Tuesday night's Reds game as a pinch runner against the St. Louis Cardinals, stole second base on the very first pitch, and scored on a double by former Dragon Todd Frazier. Hamilton's run turned out to be the only run of the game in a 1-0 Reds victory.
Hamilton became the sixth former Dragon to make his Major League debut in 2013, joining Donald Lutz, Neftali Soto, Curtis Partch, Nick Christiani (all debuted with the Reds), and Donnie Joseph (with Kansas City).
In 2011, Hamilton thrilled fans at Fifth Third Field as he became arguably the most well-known player in Minor League Baseball. Hamilton led the Dragons to a franchise-record 83 victories (83-57) as the team's lead-off hitter. Hamilton broke the all-time Reds organizational record with 103 stolen bases with the Dragons in 2011. He broke his own record in 2012 with 155.
Hamilton made his Triple-A debut this season at Louisville and was selected to the International League Full-Season All-Star Team after stealing 75 bases for the Bats. He batted .256 and added six home runs, 18 doubles, and four triples as he made the switch from shortstop to center field.