Nicknamed “The Hammer”, he looked to be well on his way to becoming the next cornerstone of the Royals team.
He proved it in the strike-shortened 1994 season, where he won the Rookie of the Year award.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) March 28, 2014
However, this would prove to be his peak.
What ever happened to Hamelin, and why did he never live up to his full potential?
Here is a look at his career numbers and where he is today.
High Expectations For Hamelin
Hamelin was drafted in the second round of the 1988 draft by the Royals.
Coming out of high school, he was a prospect with a lot of potential from the first base position.
Word quickly spread throughout the organization of just how good Hamelin could be.
“The stories we would hear about this guy were pretty amazing,” former Royals right-hander Mark Gubicza said. “We heard he hit balls as a far as Bo [Jackson] could hit them, maybe farther. We saw some of that in Spring Training. He had such a short, quick swing from the left side and the ball just jumped off his bat.”
However, it took a lot of time for Hamelin to develop as he battled injuries after being drafted.
Because of this, he spent five years in the minor leagues.
Finally, in 1993, he was called up to the Royals with a chance to debut in the majors.
Hamelin struggled in 16 games, hitting just .224 with two home runs.
He stood out the next season, as he became a full-time starter for the Royals.
In 101 games, Hamelin broke the Royals rookie home run record (hitting 24) set by Bo Jackson in 1987.
He also hit .282 with 25 doubles, 65 RBI and a .388 on-base percentage on his way to winning the Rookie of the Year award.
They don’t award extra runs based off mean mugs in the batter’s box, but if there was ever a time to, it’d be for this Bob Hamelin walk-off on 4/13/1994. #Royals #RaisedRoyal (via MLB) @1990sBaseball pic.twitter.com/8Wu9iWrOvi
— MLBDailyDingers (@MLBDailyDingers) January 8, 2021
This season would prove to be his peak, though.
Following the 1994 season, the Royals hired a new manager.
Their former manager, Hal McRae, had been a fan of Hamelin and gave him opportunities to play on the field.
The new coaching staff, however, did not.
He got off to a poor start in 1995 and was demoted to triple-A after hitting just .168 with nine home runs.
The struggles continued in 1996, as he had just nine home runs in 89 games.
On top of this, he had one of the worst baseball cards of all-time.
Happy National Baseball Card Day to you and yours (and to Bob Hamelin). pic.twitter.com/L0ypBOs82C
— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) August 11, 2018
He was released by the Royals before the 1997 season and then picked up by the Detroit Tigers.
Here, he put together a solid season.
In 110 games, he hit 18 home runs with a .270 batting average.
However, the Tigers decided to move on from him as he went to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Following a season where he was mainly a bench bat, Hamelin bounced around in the minors until he finally decided to retire.
After the abrupt ending to his career, Hamelin owned his own business in the construction industry.
However, he didn’t spend much time away from the sport.
He decided to attend scout school where he eventually passed and took up jobs for the Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.
— David Dorsey (@DavidADorsey) June 17, 2013
Hamelin continues his scouting even to this day, working on the east coast with a primary focus in the Carolinas.
While it was a disappointing career for a player that seemed to have great upside, he was still able to put together a successful career in the sport.
His playing peak may have been his rookie season, but he remains in the game by evaluating the talent of the future and working with players in the same position he was.