"He fit right in with us," said Brewers great Jim Gantner, who was entrenched at second base when Hamilton arrived in 1988. "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."
Gantner added, "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."
Hamilton batted .291 in 1,328 big league games and was one of the Brewers' best players in 1992 and '93, important transition years with Gantner retiring and Paul Molitor departing for Toronto after the '92 season, and Robin Yount playing his 20th and final season in '93. Hamilton hit .304 over those two years with 141 runs scored and 62 stolen bases.
Last year, Hamilton was an inaugural inductee to the Brewers' Wall of Honor.
While fans were observing a moment of silence at Miller Park, Brewers radio broadcaster Joe Block was paying his own on-air tribute to Hamilton, who provided color commentary for 29 broadcasts last season. Next door in the television booth, Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder, the latter a Hamilton teammate, wore bow ties while introducing a Hamilton highlight package.
The Brewers were among a number of Hamilton's former teams with tributes planned this week. The Mets will hold their own moment of silence when they return home on Friday.
"I am as shocked as anybody else," Mets manager Terry 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."
Added Brewers manager Craig Counsell: "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. 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."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.