Tuesday, July 27, 2010

#309 Steve Hamilton

#309 Steve Hamilton
So, any idea who the mystery Yankee is in the background of this photo? According to my crack research, Tony Kubek wore #10 and and Mel Stottlemyre was #30. Those are possibilities...

Fun facts about Steve Hamilton:

-Born in Columbia, KY, Steve was a two-sport athlete at Morehead State University. In 1958, he was drafted in the second round by the NBA's Minneapolis Lakers, and also signed a contract with the MLB's Indians.

-He played alongside Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor for two years in Minneapolis, averaging 4.5 points per game in 82 games total.

-Hamilton won a total of 52 minor league games over four years and debuted with Cleveland at age 25 in 1961. The following year he was traded to the Senators.

-Had a decent rookie season (3.77 ERA, 108 ERA+) for Washington, but received little support, as his 3-8 record attests. Was fortunate to be dealt to the Yankees in April 1963.

-Spent the better part of eight seasons alternating between the New York bullpen and rotation, posting a 34-20 record and a 2.78 ERA. Peaked in 1965 with a 3-1 mark and a 1.39 ERA.

-Tossed his only career shutout on August 5, 1966, a five-hit victory over the Indians.

-Late in his career, Steve began throwing a lob pitch that was known as the "folly floater". After Cleveland slugger Tony Horton fouled off the floater during a 1970 game, he urged Hamilton to throw him another. He complied, and Horton fouled out to catcher Thurman Munson. Humiliated, the batter crawled back into the dugout on all fours. You can actually see the video here!

-Hamilton spent a season each with the Giants and Cubs at the end of his career, retiring in 1972 with a 40-31 record and a 3.05 ERA over parts of 12 seasons. He also saved 42 games.

-In 1975, he coached for the Detroit Tigers. He spent the next couple of decades serving as head baseball coach and athletic director at his alma mater, MSU.

-Steve passed away after a battle with cancer in 1997. He was 62 years old.
#309 Steve Hamilton (back)


  1. Kevin, I'm going to guess the photo was taken in '63 and that's Marshall Bridges (#30) in the background. Other possibility would be Bill Kunkel (#20 in '63).

  2. My buddy and I were at the famous Folly Floater vs Tony Horton game. That day at Yankee Stadium was the most fun I've ever had at a ballpark.
    1)The Hamilton-Horton thing. I've never seen a hitter do anything quite like Horton's crawl back to the dugout.
    2)Bobby Murcer's four consecutive homers over the course of the doubleheader. (With a walk stuck in there as well)
    3) A great fight at home plate between Stan Bahnsen and Vada Pinson following a play at the plate. Pinson got tossed if I recall correctly.
    4) Some joker tossing a cherry bomb from the upper deck that landed almost under Ray Fosse as he caught. He jumped about five feet in the air.
    We saw all this from seats behind the Indian dugout, courtesy of a friendly usher we had schmoozed for a season or two. He liked us and always got us close to the field. If that video was larger/clearer I could probably find us in the crowd when Horton went to his knees. He was right down in front of us.

  3. Doug - Thanks for the tip!

    Bob - That does sound like a game (or two) worth seeing! Retrosheet confirms the Pinson ejection.

  4. Cool. I always use Baseball Reference and forget the Retrosheet listing is even cooler. Funny how memory is though. I would have sworn Bahnsen was tossed along with Pinson. And I had to prove to my friend that Murcer's homers were in both game, not 4 in 1.

  5. The Internet is great for resolving bar bets, right Bob?