My calendar informs me that today was Billy Hamilton's birthday. My guess is that most people (or at least everyone at the "Last Fan Standing" thing from FanFest) are saying, "Who?" Billy Hamilton was one of the greatest early Phillies ever. Imagine the 1894 Phillies, a team where the entire outfield batted above .400 (none of which even led the league, being as Boston's Hugh Duffy hit .440) and the team still only placed 4th. The pitching mound had been moved back to 60'6" a year or two prior, and most pitchers, Phillies included, were suddenly hating their lives. Anyway, Billy Hamilton got on base a lot (his career mark of .455 is only behind Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and John McGraw), and once he was there, he liked to run; he's third on the all-time list for career stolen bases. He also scored a LOT of runs, and is one of the few players out there whose career number of runs scored exceeds the number of games he played in. He was a fast dude.
Trivia Question: Who are the other two players besides Billy Hamilton who were in over 1000 games who scored more runs in their career than the number of games they played in? (Well, at least, I found two other guys...)
As it is, 110 years after Billy Hamilton was born, another fast dude, Eric Byrnes, was born. I really like Eric Byrnes, because he's a crazy hyper funny weirdo who's really fun to watch when he's running all over the place with his hair flying behind him. I bet his birthday wish is for a productive and stable season against many lefty pitchers, and I hope he gets it!
The rumor going around the last few days is that Tino Martinez is retiring to take an ESPN job. I like Tino. (Doesn't everyone?) When I see an official announcement, I'll think of more to say.
Also, pitchers and catchers have reported, but I'm not really sure what to say about it all yet. The Japanese newspapers have taken great pleasure in reporting how Johjima talks in English with his pitchers, and even the Seattle PI is getting into the enthusiasm: "Apparently Johjima's heavy immersion in English (and Spanish) is paying off, because at the end of the session, Barron patted the top of Johjima's helmet and said, 'Bueno, bueno.'"