Billy Hamilton

cooperstownexpert.com
Birthdate 2/16/1866
Death Date 12/16/1940
Debut Year 1890
Year of Induction 1961
Teams Phillies
Position Center Field

Retired for 100+ years, Billy Hamilton is still among the top ten All Time in career stolen bases (3rd), on-base % (4th), and batting average (7th).

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In the collection:

Note from NL President Ford Frick that came with the National League lifetime pass

Note from NL President Ford Frick that came with the National League lifetime pass

This note from Ford Frick accompanied the National League lifetime pass sent to Billy Hamilton. The fleet-footed Hamilton played a dozen years in the NL and received the 19th pass ever printed. A true star of the 19th century, Hamilton was the most prolific base stealer
The 19th Lifetime Pass ever issued, this one to Sliding Billy Hamilton

The 19th Lifetime Pass ever issued, this one to Sliding Billy Hamilton

This is the lifetime pass that Billy Hamilton received, the 19th ever issued as evidenced by the numbering in the top right corner. The original passes are the only of the lifetime variety that were paper. Later incarnations of the passes were issued on solid gold, sterling silver, metal, and leathe
Notification to Hamilton enclosed with his sterling silver lifetime pass

Notification to Hamilton enclosed with his sterling silver lifetime pass

Ford Frick thought better of issuing a paper for something meant to last a lifetime. The following year in 1936, he and American League President William Harridge colluded to issue solid gold passes to players with 20 or more years of Major League service. Players with at least ten but less than 20
Billy Hamilton's solid silver MLB lifetime pass

Billy Hamilton's solid silver MLB lifetime pass

A more durable alternative to the paper pass was this solid silver lifetime pass presented to Billy Hamilton in 1935. The metal passes were also different than the paper passes in that they guaranteed entry into all Major League parks. The paper passes were good only for entry into National League s

A Story about Billy Hamilton

Lifetime passes were the brainchild of NL President Ford Frick; here’s a pictorial history

June 18th, 2016 Leave a comment

Lifetime pass

A newspaper man turned league publicist turned league president came up with a brilliant idea in 1934 — reward longtime National League players with a lifetime pass to all NL games. Senior Circuit owners approved Ford Frick’s proposal at the league meeting in December of ’34. A few months later, Frick sent out ornately decorated paper Lifetime Passes to the NL’s greatest players. He even sent one to Babe Ruth who appeared in all of 28 games for the Boston Braves in 1935. A 21-year veteran of the American League, the Babe was grateful if not surprised when he remarked, “At least the National League has a heart”. An image of the original paper pass presented to Hall of Fame outfielder Sliding Billy Hamilton can be seen below. A similar pass curiously issued to Stan Coveleski, a lifetime American Leaguer is also shown. Perhaps shamed by Ruth’s remarks, the American League joined forces in 1936 to issue a pass to all Major League contests. Players with twenty or more years of service received a solid gold pass. Seventeen men qualified for the true “golden ticket” — Ruth, Fred Clarke, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Bill Dahlen, Harry Davis, Red Faber, Walter Johnson, […]

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"Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball…"

~Jacques Barzun, 1954