With 2012 at the very edge of its existence, and 2013 pushing its way in, it’s time to step back and reward ourselves by looking back at the 13 best moments from the 2012 baseball season.
Sometimes it’s good to be kind to ourselves. Part II comes tomorrow.
13. Billy Hamilton Is Actually Mercury, the God Of Speed
(Photo by Josh May)
As baseball has slowly shifted its focus from power hitters to those that can both run and play defense (the AL MVP vote excluded), Billy Hamilton has created plenty of attention by just the use of his legs. And while it’s a shame that the Reds didn’t call up Hamilton in September to use him solely as a Flash-like secret weapon, in a way, that protected Hamilton’s legend.
By never letting any of the unwashed, Major League-only masses get a glimpse of him, keeping up with Hamilton was like going back in time, waiting for the occasional article or video clip to pop up. I mean, sure, you could check the daily MiLB box scores and buy a MiLB.tv subscription, but most people were happy to just get updates like on June 25th when, after stealing 15 bases in five games, JJ Cooper noted that Hamilton was stealing an absurd 1.2 bags per game (he finished the season at the slightly less absurd total of 1.17).
Or when Hamilton hit an inside the park home run in 13.8 seconds. I don’t even get from my bed to the bathroom in 13.8 seconds.
In the end, Hamilton would steal 155 bases between two levels, setting a new pro record for steals in a season, while also posting an .830 OPS that leaves some hope that he’ll have enough power to keep pitchers from throwing an endless string of fastballs while the corners play on the grass on every pitch.
12. Jamie Moyer Rises from the Dead
When Jamie Moyer blew out his arm in 2010 at the age of 47, most assumed he was done. His career was over. Because no matter how much desire Moyer had, no one had a clue how an arm like that would respond to rehab, much less how many teams would have a use for a pitcher with a 79.7 mph fastball at the time of his injury.
Instead, Moyer battled back, signing with the Colorado Rockies on January 18th and broke camp with the team as a 49 year-old hurler. Moyer, looking like the cross between an aged gold prospector and a character actor in a Coen Brothers film, started his first game on April 7, gutting out (the appropriate term for a pitcher whose fastball averaged 74.2 mph!) five innings and giving up four runs, three earned, against the Astros. Moyer lost again in his next time out, giving up four more runs, only two earned, in 5.2 innings against the eventual World Champion Giants. It was the most people thought he could do.