Flashback to September 3rd of last season…
The St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds are in a scoreless tie when Ryan Ludwick singled off Seth Maness in the 7th inning. Reds Manager Dusty Baker removes Ludwick—who is no slouch on the basepaths, in favor of Billy Hamilton.
The showdown was set.
Hamilton—who swiped a minor league record 155 bases, ready to challenge Yadier Molina—who had thrown out 45% of runners attempting to steal in his career.
It took one pitch before Hamilton was standing safely at second and later scored to give the Reds a 1-0 victory.
The next day was similar as Hamilton again entered the game as a pinch-runner for Ludwick—this time in the 14th inning. This time the speedy outfielder stole second off Edward Mujica and Molina, but again came around to score.
The Cardinals, however, won the game 5-4 after Matt Adams in the 16th inning.
Hamilton went on to steal 13 bases in 14 attempts (in 13 games) and is now the everyday centerfielder for Cincinnati and will be leading off when the two teams meet this afternoon in the season opener.
Molina will be behind the plate for his eighth consecutive Opening Day for the Cardinals.
And all eyes in baseball will again be on the pair if Hamilton reaches base.
photo credit: Scott Rovak-USA Today Sports