07/22/08 8:14 PM ET
Rangers' Hamilton racking up RBIs
Outfielder just fifth player to 98 in 100 games since 2000
By David Just / MLB.com
Not only did the three runs prove to be enough to topple the White Sox in the series opener, but Hamilton became just the fifth player since 2000 with at least 98 RBIs through his team's first 100 games of the season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The team record is 157 RBIs by Juan Gonzalez in 1998.
Hamilton wasn't aware of that fact before Tuesday's game at U.S. Cellular Field and didn't seem to care. For Hamilton, giving his team a chance to win by taking the lead with a three-run homer is all that mattered.
Manager Ron Washington had given the slugger a day off Sunday, and it appeared to be just what the doctor ordered. Hamilton didn't exactly have a chance to rest over the break, participating in the All-Star Game and swatting 35 home runs to finish second in the Home Run Derby.
"The first time going you don't know what to expect, plus being in New York it's magnified," Hamilton said. "It's an experience I wouldn't trade for anything, but I'm glad it's over.
"I'm glad skip gave me a day off, because I needed it more than I realized. I'm glad it's over, and it's just now starting to feel like I'm getting back to the season."
The other players to have at least 98 RBIs after 100 games are Luis Gonzalez and Sammy Sosa in 2001, Carlos Delgado in 2003, and Alex Rodriguez in 2007. Sosa, Delgado and Rodriguez went on to lead their league in RBIs at the end of the year.
Hamilton has plenty of wiggle room, too, leading Minnesota's Justin Morneau by 25 RBIs.
Before the series in Chicago began Monday, Hamilton answered questions from a smattering of Chicago media about overcoming his drug addiction and consequently becoming a "celebrity" of the game.
Hamilton might have to get used to playing a celebrity role, he just didn't know it would happen so quickly.
"I didn't think it would change that fast," he said. "Tattoos give me away more than anything. If somebody saw me, just my face, they'd probably say, 'I don't know if that's him or not.' But when they see all this, they're like, 'Oh, that's him.'"
Hamilton may be indifferent to the fact that he is on pace for nearly 162 RBIs, but his run production has helped lead Texas to a 45-32 record since April 25. That's the fourth-best record in the Majors in that span.
David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.