Saturday, November 14, 2015

Steve Hamilton (#567)

Here is another high-number from the 1967 set. Steve Hamilton was signed by the Indians in 1958, and after making his big-league debut in early 1961 with 2 games for the Tribe, he was back in the minors until a May 1962 trade with the Senators for outfielder Willie Tasby.

Steve pitched in 41 games during his first year in Washington, starting 10 games. He would only start 7 more games over the remaining 10 seasons in his career (while working out of the ‘pen in 378 games).

After only 2 games with the Sens in 1963, Hamilton was swapped to the Yankees for reliever Jim Coates. Steve spent the next 8 years as the top (and sometimes the only) lefty in the Yankees’ bullpen. In 1968 he led the staff in saves.

Late in his career, Hamilton developed the slow, arcing “eephus pitch”. On one occasion in 1970, he got Indians’ slugger Tony Horton to strike out on consecutive floaters, causing Horton to crawl back to the dugout in embarrassment. (Blogger Commishbob has noted that he was at that game.)

In early-September 1970, the White Sox claimed him off waivers, but traded him the following spring to the Giants. He pitched his final season (1972) for the Cubs.

Steve played in the ’63 and ’64 World Series, and the ’71 NLCS. Hamilton also played in the NBA from 1958 to 1960 for the Minneapolis Lakers, and is one of only 2 people to have played in the World Series and the NBA finals.

Hamilton passed away in 1997 at age 63.

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