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The Art of Base Stealing

Picture of player stealing a base.
Stealing A Base

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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