The Nine: 5 Impactful Players In Louisville Franchise History
LOUISVILLE, KY – As part of The Nine outreach initiative, Minor League Baseball teams are featuring a list of standout players from each team’s all-time franchise history. Below are five impactful Louisville alumni and several highlights from their tenure with the team: 1. Deion Sanders Best Louisville Season (2001): 19
LOUISVILLE, KY – As part of The Nine outreach initiative, Minor League Baseball teams are featuring a list of standout players from each team’s all-time franchise history. Below are five impactful Louisville alumni and several highlights from their tenure with the team:
1. Deion Sanders
Best Louisville Season (2001): 19 games, .459 average, 10 XBH, 6 SB, .494 OBP
Career Highlights: 4x finished 2nd in NL in stolen bases, led NL in triples in 1992
Sanders, better known as "Primetime," starred in both the National Football League and Major League Baseball during his pro career. The former Bats outfielder scored the franchise's first ever run at Louisville Slugger Field during the 2000 season and went on to hit at an impressive .459 clip during the 2001 campaign.
2. Billy Hamilton
Best Louisville Season (2013): 123 games, .256 average, 28 XBH, 41 RBI, 75 SB
Career Highlights: 2014 NL Rookie of the Month (June), 2014 Baseball America Major League All-Rookie Team
Speedster Hamilton stole a Minor League Baseball record-setting 155 bases in 2012 prior to his full season with the Bats in 2013. He continued his impressive pace with 75 additional steals for Louisville in 2013, which finished as nearly double the next-closest amount by any International League player that year. Hamilton ultimately earned both Mid and Postseason All-Star selections with the Bats and was named a Futures Game selection for the second straight year.
3. Hunter Greene
Best Louisville Season (2021): 14 starts, 4.13 ERA, 79 SO/65.1IP
Career Highlights: Selected second overall by Cincinnati in 2017, Rated Top 5 prospect in Reds system by Baseball American from 2018-22, 3x Top 100 prospect by BA
Greene burst onto the scene with a 100+ MPH fastball that dazzled scouts at showcases and flummoxed opponents on the diamond. He dominated at the Double-A level to open the 2021 season to rank second in all of Minor League Baseball in both wins and strikeouts en route to his first promotion to the Triple-A level. He unleashed a 104 MPH pitch against the Omaha Storm Chasers in his debut and went on to cap his first Triple-A stint with 79 strikeouts over 65.1 innings of work.
4. Dmitri Young
Best Louisville Season (1996): 122 games, .333 average, 54 XBH, 90 R, 16 SB
Career Highlights: Member of 1995 Louisville Redbirds American Association Championship team, 2003 AL All-Star, 2007 NL All-Star, 2007 NL Comeback Player of the Year
Nicknamed “the Meat Hook,” Young was a member of the Louisville Redbirds 1995 American Association championship team before becoming a standout and both mid and postseason All-Star with Louisville during the 1996 campaign. Following several productive years in the Majors between St. Louis, Cincinnati and Detroit, Young earned his second and final MLB All-Star selection of his career in 2007 by boasting a .320 average and 51 extra-base hits over 136 games with Washington.
5. Didi Gregorius
Best Louisville Season (2012): 48 games, .243 average, 25 R, 19 XBH, .981 FPCT
Career Highlights: 2018 AL Player of the Month (April), AL Player of the Week (2018), 2016 Yankees Heart and Hustle Award
The slick-fielding Gregorius converted 209 of his 2013 chances in the field between shortstop and second base with the Bats in 2012, registering a solid .981 fielding percentage while holding down the middle infield for Louisville. He went on to fill the huge shoes of Hall of Famer Derek Jeter at shortstop for the New York Yankees and was rewarded with the team's Heart and Hustle Award for the 2016 campaign.