Found May 11, 2012 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
ARLINGTON, Texas Long before Josh Hamilton was making history like he did Tuesday night with his four-homer game in Baltimore, another member of his family was also a prodigious power hitter.
In fact, if it weren't for the home run hitting abilities of one of Hamilton's parents, there may never have been a Josh Hamilton.
That's why everyone who's a fan of Hamilton should be thankful for the hitting prowess of Hamilton's mom Linda.
"My dad went to watch a men's softball game and when they got of the out car, the softball game had been canceled," Josh Hamilton said. "The women were playing on the men's field and this ball comes flying into the parking lot. He said 'Let's go see who did that.' The next at-bat she hits the ball to center. The next one goes to right. The next at-bat she hits it off the wall in center. He said he needed to talk to her. After the game he went up to her, introduced himself and asked if she'd like to go out some time."
That game helped pave the way to marriage and eventually one of the best players in baseball. More than 30 years later, Hamilton is putting up most valuable player caliber-numbers and the two time defending American League champion Texas Rangers are in first place in the AL West.
While his numbers are impressive, he's really just following along in the family business that his mom helped blaze a trail through North Carolina in.
When Linda Holt, who declined to be interviewed for this story, was a freshman at Cary High School, she was good enough at baseball to make the varsity team. The one problem with that equation was that Linda didn't want to wear a cup, effectively ending her baseball career.
But that didn't stop her from playing though, as Cary started a slow-pitch softball team and Linda was one of the best players on the team.
"She was just the tops at the plate and at first base," said Barbara Stephens, who was the head coach at Cary when the softball program started in 1974 with Holt a member of the first team. "She was a good defensive player. She had a first baseman's mitt and nothing got past her. She'd pull the ball out of the dirt. She was part of a great softball team."
Softball in North Carolina was in its infancy when Holt began playing at Cary. The school couldn't participate in the state playoffs because it was a start-up program. Opportunities for softball players also ended after high school because there were no college programs for players to move on to in a state that didn't begin playing fast-pitch softball in high school until 1994. Both Hamilton and Stephens believe that if there were Hamilton's mom would have played collegiately.
"If women would have had more opportunity at the time, she would have gone really far," said Stephens. "She went about as far as she could go considering the time, especially in the south, especially in Wake County."
Just because she didn't get to play after high school didn't mean she gave up on softball. She played softball even when Josh and his older brother Jason were growing up.
"It was cool for me," Hamilton said. "I was the water boy for her softball team. My brother was the batboy."
Holt continued to have success too. Hamilton said her team won a national tournament in the 1980s and she would also play catch when Hamilton's father Tony couldn't when Josh was playing high school ball at Athens Drive High School.
While Hamilton got some of his ability from his father Tony, who played baseball, taught karate and also held a local bench-press record, there's no denying some of his mom's skills rubbed off on him too.
Stephens knows because not only did she coach Holt, she taught Hamilton at Athens Drive and watched him play baseball before he was the No. 1 overall pick of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999.
"They were both just strong physical players," said Stephens, who taught Hamilton a course called PEPI, which stood for physical education pupil instructors. "A.J. (Holt's nickname) was such a strong physical player. You could also see that in Josh. As far as skill, the level of skill is similar when you just take a man vs. a woman. Their dedication was similar. Their focus was similar. I was just fortunate to see the both of them."
The Holt-Hamilton athletic genes may not have ended with Josh either. Hamilton and his wife Katie have four daughters. The three oldest are involved in sports, with one playing volleyball, one playing softball and one playing t-ball.
Hamilton watches them play sports when he can and knows their athletic ability likely comes from his side of the family. While Hamilton's wife Katie is competitive at everything she does, she's also very small. The girls however, may take after dad and their grandmother.
"I'm watching the seventh-month old," said Hamilton of his daughter Stella Faith. "She's a beast. At two months old, she was hitting one of those things that they swing at when they're lying on their back. She was hitting it with her right hand and then she would be able to stop it. She's got a lot of coordination."
Just like dad. Or is it grandmother?
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
If you think outfielder Josh Hamilton will sign a contract that sufficiently protects the Texas Rangers from any injuries and relapses that he might suffer, think again.
Hamilton need not make concessions when he likely would receive a massive, fully guaranteed free-agent contract if he stays reasonably healthy and productive.
Besides, the collective bargaining agreement addresses...
THE GREAT HAMBINO
Josh Hamilton has been absurdly hot for the Rangers, so one of Oakland's pitchers cracked a joke about facing the slugger.
If you have been idly wasting your time and preparing for the end of the world correlating with the Mayan calendar dated December 21, 2012, perhaps, you've missed the sizzling play of the Texas Rangers Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton hit four home runs on May 8, 2012 against the Baltimore Orioles in an obvious sign of solidarity supporting the hypothesis the end is near based on the aforementioned...
Last night Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton hit 4 home runs. Hamilton thumped the Baltimore Oriole pitching staff adding a double to his 4 home runs of the night to set the American League's single-game record for total bases with 18. Texas won last night's game 10-3.
After the game Hamilton told reporters,"Obviously it's, other than being...
MILWAUKEE Johnny Narron didn't have to do much talking on the other end of the phone Wednesday morning; after all, the caller Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton had plenty to talk about.
The night before, Hamilton had completed one of the best single-game efforts in baseball history, tallying four home runs, eight RBI, and an American League-record 18 total bases. And it was...
Josh Hamilton tied the major league record for homers in a game Tuesday. Of course, you know what happened next. Time to talk about his pending free agency. Hamilton, who went 5-for-5 Tuesday with four homers, eight RBI and 18 total bases, said Wednesday that free agency isn't driving his amazing start. The Texas Rangers outfielder begins Thursday's doubleheader against...
Only incessant rain in Baltimore halted Josh Hamilton’s attack on Orioles pitching. But Hamilton still managed to make the most of a rainy night in Charm City. One night after tying a major league record by hitting four home runs, the oft-injured outfielder led a group of teammates into an all-out sprint and slide onto the Camden Yards tarp – barefoot no less.
If I’m the Texas...
Reportedly, the Rangers declare great interest in signing Josh Hamilton to a contract extension. Naturally, expressing such interest comes straight from the “GM for Dummies” handbook. If the club fails to appear genuine with this interest, then Team Hamilton (represented by agent Michael Moye) has every reason to use the “disrespected and unloved” approach...
Josh Hamilton made history on Tuesday night, which was pretty awesome. What hasn't been as awesome is the recent string of results for the Red Sox, losers in six of their last seven games. Hopefully, Jon Lester can help turn things around for the Sox on Wednesday against Kansas City, but it would be even better if the Sox could make some history of their own on top of that. NESN...
It's hard to believe that about two months ago a fair amount of Rangers fans had made peace with Josh Hamilton likely wearing a different uniform next season. In the aftermath of an alcohol-related relapse and his subsequent comments that he didn't owe the Rangers organization anything, it seemed like a reasonable course of action to let him walk in free agency.
Josh Hamilton hit two more home runs, Yu Darvish struck out
seven and the Texas Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels 10-3 in a
rain-interrupted game Friday night when C.J. Wilson faced only five
batters against his old team.
Philip Humber pitched perfect game you say? So what? So did 20 other guys.
Josh Hamilton hit four home runs in one game? Whoop-de-frieking-do. 15 guys did it before him.
But an unassisted triple play? Now that’s a truly rare baseball feat.
In fact, it has happened only 15 times in modern MLB history, the most recent being turned by Eric Bruntlett of the Phillies back in 2009....
What he did: Every so often, baseball gets a great hitter who debuts late. The 1920s had Lefty O'Doul failing as a pitcher with the Yankees, reinventing himself in the Pacific Coast League as a batter, and hitting .398 with the Phillies in 1929. Josh Hamilton might be O'Doul's modern equivalent, following his selection as the first pick in 1999 draft with a descent into...
Well another week in the 2012 MLB Season is in the books, and so far each one brings more excitement and drama than the last.
And this week history was made both good and bad.
First, the Yankees are learning what life is like without the greatest closer in the history of baseball. Losing Mariano Rivera to a torn ACL and a newly discovered blood clot did not just take a toll on Yankees...
Things are going pretty well for the Texas Rangers right now. They're the owners of the best record in Major League Baseball (21-11) and perhaps the best player in the game as well in Josh Hamilton.However, even the best of us trip up every now and then. And that's quite literally what they did in Baltimore on Thursday.Trailing 6-1 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh...