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Billy Hamilton
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Billy Hamilton

William Robert Hamilton (February 16, 1866 - December 16, 1940) was a 19th century Major League Baseball player. He holds many records for offense which still stand today.

"Sliding Billy" Hamilton broke into the Majors in the American Association with the Kansas City Cowboys in 1888 and established himself as a star the following season by batting .301 with 144 runs and 111 stolen bases.

Hamilton joined the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League in 1890 and continued his trend-setting ways over the following six years, averaging 146 runs and 92 stolen bases a season while hitting as high as .404 (in 1894). In 1896, he moved to the Boston Beaneaters, for whom he played his final six seasons. Although his numbers declined, Hamilton still scored over 100 runs in all but two of those seasons.

Hamilton retired after the 1901 season. Over his career he compiled 912 stolen bases, a .344 batting average and 1690 runs in 1591 games; he remains the only player to average more than one run per game played. His .455 career on base percentage is ranked 4th all time behind Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and John McGraw, and his 912 stolen bases rank 3rd behind Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock. He also holds the record for most stolen bases in one game, with seven, set August 31, 1894.

Hamilton was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1961.

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