WOODINVILLE — Tradition in sports has become a popular mainstay, like the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, the Rose Bowl on New Years Day, and March Madness.
On the local scene, a Caleb Hamilton article runs in The Woodinville Weekly every summer.
It was six years ago that Caleb jumped into a pile of happy teammates as Woodinville celebrated its Kingco 4A Championship. Since that time, we’ve followed the progression of his career while playing at Oregon State and being drafted by the Minnesota Twins.
He then toiled through Class A ball playing at Elizabethton (Appalachian League), Cedar Rapids (Midwest League), and Fort Myers (Florida State League), before moving up to AA Pensacola where he made the All-Star team earlier this summer.
On July 22, Caleb was called up to AAA Rochester; one step away from the Big Leagues.
“I had just finished a game in Pensacola,” Caleb said. “It was roughly 10 p.m. My parents and brother had just flown into town. It was the first time I’d seen them in a couple months. I grabbed my bag and started walking down the hallway to the locker room. My manager [Pat Kelly] stopped me and said `Congratulations! You’re going to Rochester.’ It was a cool moment for me. We players never know when we’re moving up. It’s all based on the front office plan.”
Caleb wasn’t able to share the good news with his family as they had left the ballpark headed back to their hotel, so he spoke to his dad on the phone and told him he had been called up.
The following day, Caleb boarded an early morning flight bound for New York. The rest of the Hamilton clan scurried to change travel plans. They arrived in Rochester two days later and was able to watch him play several games.
As of this article, Hamilton had played 11 games behind the dish. He was batting .206 with 1 home run and 5 RBI. Rather paltry numbers, but his stellar defense is what the Twins organization covets most.
Recalling a conversation with a reporter while playing playing Rookie Ball in the Appalachian League in 2016, Caleb told me about a sketchy hotel he was staying in on the banks of the Mississippi that had four locks on the door.
Those days are behind him.
“I’m in a Holiday Inn right now in downtown Rochester. It’s a very nice hotel. Walking distance to the field. Very good location.
“I’m very happy to be here. A lot of things in life don’t come when you expect them. I’m just happy for the opportunity — I’m just going to run with it.”