Former Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton got a warm reception from Tuesday night's crowd at Great American Ball Park after entering the game as a defensive replacement for the Chicago White Sox against his former team and later making a plate appearance.
Hamilton entered Chicago's 9-0 win in the bottom of the sixth to play center field. He flipped a ball to a young fan in the outfield seats after attempting to dunk the ball over the wall to the fan. Bally Sports Ohio analyst and former Reds great Barry Larkin discussed Hamilton's ability to dunk a basketball during the broadcast.
Later, fans cheered Hamilton before and after he struck out swinging in the top of the eighth. Hamilton has three hits in 21 plate appearances so far this season, with three runs, two RBIs and two stolen bases.
Social media reactions to Hamilton's GABP reception:
Last month, Hamilton had one of two White Sox hits against Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani. He followed his hit to lead off the top of the third inning with a stolen base against Ohtani.
Hamilton joined the White Sox in March on a minor-league deal with an invitation to big-league camp.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona said earlier in March that the Indians would try to trade Hamilton before releasing him. Hamilton had agreed in February to a minor-league deal with Cleveland.
The New York Mets designated Hamilton for assignment last September, and he was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs. He had three hits in 10 at-bats with the Cubs, and stole three bases in four attempts, before becoming a free agent in October.
Hamilton was traded in August of last year from the San Francisco Giants to the Mets for right-handed pitcher Jordan Humphreys. Hamilton did not appear in a regular-season game for the Giants after signing a minor-league deal with the team earlier in the year.
The 2009 second-round pick of the Reds played for the team from 2013 to 2018. The Reds granted him free agency in Nov. 2018.
Hamilton hit .211 with an OPS of .544 in 305 plate appearances for the Kansas City Royals in 2019 and had 18 stolen bases in 23 attempts. The Atlanta Braves selected him off of waivers after the Royals designated him for assignment in August. He hit .268 in 48 plate appearances with four stolen bases in five attempts for the Braves.
Hamilton wowed fans in 2019 by scoring from second base on a sacrifice fly to deep center field in the Royals' loss to the Mariners.
Hamilton said in 2019 that he has no hard feelings toward the Reds and still supports his former teammates.
Hamilton, who hit .245 with 277 stolen bases in 690 games over six seasons for the Reds, thanked the organization and fans in Dec. 2018.
Hamilton is a five-time Gold Glove finalist, but he has lost each time. He finished second to the Mets' Jacob deGrom in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2014.
LOVE SPORTS? [ Subscribe now for unlimited access to Cincinnati.com ]