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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Billy Hamilton Chasing Bob Bescher

Bob Bescher stole 81 bases for the Reds in 1911.

No one has ever stolen that many for the Reds since.

Billy Hamilton has 45 stolen bases, a little more than halfway through the season.

"It would mean a lot of things went right if Billy stole 81 this year," Bryan Price said. "A lot of good things would happen for the team but as an individual too. Those kind of things are fun to watch. It keeps guys focused and motivated."

When Bescher stole his 81 bases, he led the league with 716 plate appearances. He was on base 38.5 percent of the time. Bescher hit .275.

Hamilton is hitting . 218 and is only on base 26.6 percent of the time.

Hamilton has been thrown out six times after he was caught 23 times last season.

It is his approach on the base paths he changed.

"You have to plan it out before hand. This year I'm more aware of the situation," Hamilton said. "You have to be with it 100 percent, know you're going to go.  You can't think while you're doing it. You can't hesitate."

Hamilton is trying to take the same approach at the plate.

"You can't be thinking of where your hands are an hit," Hamilton said. "I'm working on that the second half. I am going in knowing what the pitcher throws and just hit it."

Hamilton stole 165 bases in the minor leagues in 2012 to set a minor league record.  That year he was caught 39 times. Hamilton hit .302 and had an OBP of .399 that year.

Hamilton has had a difficult time adjusting at the plate.  He has made a good transition on defense, moving from shortstop to centerfield.

A natural right-handed hitter, Hamilton has been learning to switch hit the last three seasons.
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"Speed can be as seductive as power," Price said. "Billy has become a better student of the game. It is inevitable that he breaks (Bescher's) the record. It may not be this year but it would be fun if he does."

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