The Art of Base Stealing
Stealing a base in baseball isn't as important in Major League Baseball as it once was - because so many teams now rely on homeruns and big hits to drive in runs. But a good base stealer can still give his team an advantage, especially in close games. During the 2004 American League Championship Series, Dave Roberts stole a base which sparked the Red Sox historic comeback over the New York Yankees. The downside, of course, is that getting caught stealing can end a rally and cost a team an out.
Base Stealing - Technique
Get A Good Jump - A good base stealer gets a jump on a pitcher by studying their moves. As soon as a pitcher makes a move towards the plate, a base runner should be off and running.
Judgement - Good judgement is as important to base stealers as speed. Knowing which catchers and pitchers are easy to steal against is an essential part of a base stealer's technique.
When To Steal - It is generally easier to steal third base than second because a runner can get a better lead off second base. But because a player is already in a scoring position at second base, most runners won't steal third unless they have a success rate of at least 90 percent.
Stolen Bases - Baseball's Best
Juan Pierre, Marlins - Florida's speedster has a high on-base percentage, good speed and great instincts. Pierre is fearless and his presence is very disrupting to pitchers.
Carl Crawford, Devil Rays - Crawford might be the fastest runner in baseball. Unfortunately, he plays on a bad team so his stolen bases don't produce as many runs as other top stealers.
Scott Podsednik, White Sox - Among the fastest players in baseball, Podsednik stole 70 bases in 2004. Would be more valuable to the Sox if he reached base more often.
Carlos Beltran, Mets - Smart base stealer with great speed who rarely gets caught.
Stolen Bases - Records
Rickey Henderson is Major League Baseball's all-time leader in stolen bases with 1406. Henderson also holds the record for most stolen bases in a season with 130 in 1982.
Between 1988 and 1989, Vince Coleman of the St. Louis Cardinals stole 50 straight bases without being caught.
The Cool Papa Bell Award is given to Major League Baseball player who steals the most bases each season. The award is named after the lightning quick, Cool Papa Bell - who's considered the fastest player in baseball history.
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