Monthly Archives: January 2014

Cincinnati takes a leap of faith with Billy Hamilton

Billy HamiltonPlaying in the central division of National League can be extremely stressful for most teams as competition is tremendous and making the playoffs is an accomplishment itself. Cincinnati Reds are slowly but surely losing their patience as their bid of playing the World Series was crushed and they didn’t come a step closer to their objective.

The season break brought several changes and perhaps the most notable one was the sacking of manager Dusty Baker who failed to produce be results that the owners were waiting for. Cincinnati has ambitious plans for 2014 and some of them can be found at Basically, they are chasing any opportunity and are willing to take a leap of faith with a young and inexperienced player.

The Reds are not the best team in MLB but they have one of the best farming systems and many of their young prospects rise to stardom. Billy Hamilton could be such a player but many think that it is way too early for him to be given a place in the main rotation. They are trusting him to hit most of the balls thrown at him by starting pitchers and then steal bases at the same rate he does in the minor leagues, but this could be a tall order.

This is not the first time that Cincinnati tries to strengthen its lineup, as they paid $7.3 million to Choo, only to see him departing for Texas Rangers. General manager Walt Jocketty had his sights locked on Grady Sizemore and Brett Gardner but none of these players signed with Cincinnati. Instead they chose to play for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, which means that the Reds have to pursue different avenues. With so many promising young players, it makes perfect sense to give them a chance, yet many think that it is a hasty decision that could backfire.

The truth is that despite their best efforts, the Reds failed to sign many gifted players in the season break and now they have to play everything on the Hamilton card. They will need him to put aside any emotions and make his debut season memorable by stealing triple digit bases and scoring just as many runs. Obviously, these are high expectations that could only amplify the pressure on the players shoulders, but the rest are hungry for a trophy and there is no other way.

Frank Thomas joins fellow Hall of Famers

Frank ThoomasBaseball Writers’ Association of America voted for the players to join the Hall of Fame in 2014 and they focused mostly on Greg Maddux. He was on the verge of being the first player ever to be inducted in the prestigious group by unanimous decision, with a single baseball writer refusing to add him on the list. He had his reasons and explained them briefly in a statement given after the game, but the vast majority of those who casted their votes were completely behind Maddux.

Tom Glavine was also inducted into the Hall of Fame but besides these two remarkable pitchers, the writers’ community also included a prolific slugger. Frank Thomas scored a total of 521 home runs over 19 years and won two MVP awards, so it makes perfect sense for him to be heading to Cooperstown. His admission marks a premier, because Thomas is the first player to have played in the Southeastern Conference to be voted for the award.

He began his career as a first baseman for Auburn and it is virtually impossible to find another hitter that played for this team who can compete with Frank. In Major League Baseball, he made a significant contribution to the Chicago White Sox’s success, where he played for 16 years. He scored a total of 448 home runs and had a .427 on-base percentage, which led to the American League MVP Award being awarded to him in consecutive years 1993-1994.

While the number of pitchers admitted to the Hall of Fame recently greatly surpasses the number of sluggers who won this award, Thomas will be in select company. Pat Williams, Babe Ruth and Mel Ott are the other three players who belong to this elite group and have scored in excess of 500 home runs, more than 1000 runs and 1500 walks and the same number of runs batted in. The ceremony will take place on July 27 in Cooperstown and plenty of White Sox fans are expected to participate.