DETROIT — Pheidippides’ run from the battle of Marathon to Athens. Harry Truman’s run through the Capitol. Roger Bannister’s four-minute mile. And now, Rich Hill.
Against the Tigers on Wednesday at Comerica Park, the 43-year-old hurler added his name to the list of history’s unforgettable sprints. With two outs in the second, Miguel Cabrera ripped a hard grounder that first baseman Carlos Santana smothered with a diving stop. After a moment of hesitation, Hill took off to cover first, racing the 40-year-old slugger to the bag.
Hill ultimately reached the base first to record the put-out and end the inning, reaching a top speed of 21.7 feet per second, though Cabrera actually outraced him with a season-high 25.3 ft/sec sprint speed.
Hill, Santana and Cabrera have a combined age of 120.
For players of such impressive vintage, it might be surprising that Wednesday marked only the 10th game between Hill and Cabrera. Their first meeting came 18 years ago, when Miggy’s Florida Marlins faced Hill’s Cubs on June 15, 2005, with Hill pitching in relief of Greg Maddux. Cabrera ripped a double in that at-bat and generally has had the upper hand in their battles — his 0-for-2 on Wednesday dropped his career batting average against Hill to .381.