Friday, February 10, 2017
no. 627 - steve hamilton
Who is the man: Steve Hamilton was picked up on waivers by the White Sox in early September, 1970. The Yankees let Hamilton loose after he spent 8 years with the club and went 4-3 in 35 relief appearances with a 2.78 ERA that season.
Can ya dig it: If you can't dig the "I" dotted with a star in Hamilton's name then what can you dig? Hamilton isn't the only player who did that (Tito Fuentes), but he's one of the more famous examples.
Right on: This airbrush/crop job would have worked quite well 20 years later and looks not all that jarring in retrospect. But this was long before the White Sox featured black pinstripe uniforms. (EDIT: White Sox wore black pinstripes in the 1960s).
You see that cat Hamilton is a bad mother: Hamilton played two seasons for the NBA's Minneapolis Lakers and is one of only two athletes to compete in the NBA Finals and the World Series. Gene Conley is the other.
Shut your mouth: During the 1964 season, Hamilton's son, Robert, was born. Young Robert woke up his father five times one night and when Hamilton finally did get to sleep, "I had a hideous dream," he said. "I got traded to the Mets and they were just about to start a 60-game road trip. I couldn't get back to sleep after that."
No one understands him but his woman: I first came across Hamilton while reading a Sports Illustrated story on baseball players and chewing tobacco. The article emphasized the nastiness of the habit and mentioned a time when Hamilton swallowed his chaw while on the pitching mound. He then proceeded to throw up all over the back of the mound. I believe that is what prevented me from ever considering chewing tobacco.
(A word about the back): About that "folly floater," which he first unveiled in 1969. The most cited story is when he broke it out against Indians hitter Tony Horton. Horton swung at it and fouled it off. Horton then motioned for Hamilton to throw it again, which Hamilton did. This is where the story relies on artistic license. The common version says Horton fouled off the pitch again, into Thurman Munson's glove, and then crawled back to the dugout on all fours. But if you watch the video, Munson ran for awhile before catching the pop up. And Horton didn't start crawling until he was maybe four steps away from the dugout.