The two teams Darryl Hamilton began and ended his 13-year MLB career with joined together in honoring and remembering the late outfielder, who was a recent victim of an apparent murder-suicide, before they played against each other on Tuesday.
Hamilton made his major-league debut with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1988 and finished his major-league career with the New York Mets in 2001. Both teams lined up the warning track before their game in Milwaukee on Tuesday to honor Hamilton, who died Sunday at the age of 50.
Individuals from both teams shared their remembrances as they reflected on the player and human being Hamilton was.
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"He fit right in with us," Brewers great Jim Gantner recalled, per MLB.com. "He knew how to play the game. He was always getting on base. I remember when he first came up, [former Brewers hitting coach] Don Baylor saying he was going to win a batting title someday. He was that good a hitter.
"What a happy-go-lucky guy. He was always smiling, joking around. We just had him at fantasy camp [in February]. It’s hard to believe."
Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who played six of his 16 seasons in Milwaukee, never played on the same team as Hamilton but still fondly remembered his high-spiritedness as an opponent.
"The thing I remember is he was a pretty good player and he had a smile on his face every time he was on the field," Counsell reflected. "That’s kind of what sticks out in my head. He was always happy to be at the ballpark and in a good mood. He was a Brewer."
After playing seven seasons with the Brewers, Hamilton went on to play for the Texas Rangers in 1996, then headed to the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies before playing his final three seasons with the Mets from 1999 to 2001.
Although he never managed him, Mets manager Terry Collins was friends with Hamilton and was stunned to hear the news of his passing.
"I am as shocked as anybody else," Collins said. "Darryl was a great friend of mine. As everybody has said, his personality was infectious from being around him. You would never not see him smile. I don’t think I’ve been around anybody who has ever had something bad to say about Darryl Hamilton, ever. It’s a tragic situation. Certainly our thoughts are with his family. He’ll be missed."
The Mets are planning to honor Hamilton at Citi Field on Friday as well, when they return to New York from their road trip.