Bizarro world of baseball: Billy Hamilton powers up, Miguel Cabrera finds another gear
This was not a typical Memorial Day weekend. Chilly and rainy weather across much of the USA made it seem more like late fall than the unofficial kickoff of summer.
The oddities extended to the baseball diamond on Sunday … with some interesting occurrences that you don't see every day.
Chicago White Sox outfielder Billy Hamilton is not known as a power hitter by any stretch of the imagination. Entering the weekend, he had exactly one home run over the past three seasons — and just 23 total over his nine-year career.
However, the speedster turned into a slugger on Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles with his first dinger of the year and then followed it up on Sunday with another one.
Two homers in two days! @BillyHamilton is a power hitter. 💪 pic.twitter.com/Hir8lEfYxY
Hamilton's 367-foot shot left the bat with an exit velocity of 103.8 mph at a launch angle of 26 degrees. And yes, that fits MLB's definition of a "barrel." In fact, it was only his second official barrel since the 2018 season.
Who could have imagined in spring training that by Memorial Day, Hamilton would have more home runs for the White Sox than Eloy Jimenez AND Luis Robert … combined?
Detroit Tigers DH Miguel Cabrera is not known as a fast runner by any stretch of the imagination. But in the first inning of the Tigers' game against the New York Yankees, he did something he hadn't done since 2019: He came all the way around from first base to score on a double — in the process, ignoring the advice of third base coach Chip Hale.
Miguel Cabrera ignored his third-base coach's stop sign to score from first base on a double by Nomar Mazara in Sunday's 6-2 win over the Yankees. (Photo: Carlos Osorio, AP)
An 11-time All-Star, Cabrera, 38, has led the American League in home runs twice, RBI twice and won four batting titles, but he has had one stolen base since 2015.
Nevertheless, his sprint around the bases helped the Tigers take an early lead in Sunday's 6-2 victory and complete a series sweep of the Yankees for the first time in a decade.
Bringing ’em home. pic.twitter.com/r75FGZnlwO
'Old man' Rivas
And San Diego Padres catcher Webster Rivas is not a household name in baseball by any stretch of the imagination. He made his MLB debut on Friday at the age of 30 years, 293 days and went hitless in three at-bats.
In Sunday's game against the Houston Astros, Rivas homered for his first hit as a major leaguer.
A home run for Webster Rivas’ first Major League hit 👏 pic.twitter.com/GAsFmJqChW
According to MLB researcher Sarah Langs, Rivas is the third-oldest player since 2000 to have a home run as his first major-league hit. Only Alan Zinter in 2002 (34 years, 43 days) and Dae-Ho Lee in 2016 (33 years, 292 days) were older.
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