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Saturday, June 4, 2022

Billy Bates hit key WS single, six others in two ML seasons

Billy Bates only made the Reds postseason roster in 1990 due to an injury. But he and Cincinnati took advantage in the tenth inning Game 2 of the World Series to help get the win, The Associated Press wrote.

Put in as a pinch hitter, Bates singled and came around to score the winning run, The AP wrote.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet, what I accomplished," Bates told The AP afterward. "I'm just glad I was able to help."

Bates picked up that key World Series hit after only being traded to the Reds mid-season - and then only seeing eight regular season games with the big club.

Overall, he saw 22 big league games that year, and seven the year before. Those two seasons proved his only ones in the bigs. That World Series hit proved his final big league at bat.

Bates' career began in 1985, taken by the Brewers in the fourth round of the draft out of the University of Texas at Austin.

At Texas, Bates helped his team to the other World Series, the College World Series. In one game, he hit a three-run inside-the-park home run, one of two home runs he hit in the game, The AP wrote.

"It was just one of those nights," Bates told The AP after the Texas win. "I was seeing the ball well and just tried to make contact. Things kind of came out pretty good for us."

With the Brewers, Bates started out at single-A Stockton. He hit .298 over 59 games, with 18 stolen bases.

He then moved to AA El Paso for 1986, where he hit .296, with 23 stolen bases over 122 games. He made AAA Denver in 1987 and stayed there for most of three seasons. He hit .316 in his first year there, with 51 stolen bases.

In August 1989, he made Milwaukee. He got into seven games, 14 at bats. He picked up three hits. That March, he spoke to The Wausau Daily Herald about having major league regular Jim Gantner ahead of him.

"As long as Gantner goes out and continues to have his steady years, he's going to be here," Bates told The Daily Herald. "All I can do is go out and bust my butt every day."

Bates returned to Milwaukee for 14 more games in early 1990. He went 3 for 29. Then came his trade to the Reds. In his eight games with the big club, he got five at bats and no hits.

Called up to the Reds that September, Bates got some other on-field action, too. He raced a Cheetah in a promotion for the Cincinnati Zoo - and won. His cap fell off, distracting the animal and he took the victory, The Baltimore Sun wrote.

After his World Series hero stint, Bates played in two more seasons, at AAA Nashville with the Reds in 1991 and at AAA Iowa with the Cubs in 1992 to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,932
Made the Majors:1,311-33.3%-X
Never Made Majors:2,621-66.7%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:533
10+ Seasons in the Minors:328    

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