Stolen base

In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a runner advances to a base to which he is not entitled and the official scorer rules that the advance should be credited to the action of the runner. The umpires determine whether the runner is safe or out at the next base, but the official scorer rules on the question of credit or blame for the advance under Rule 10.[1]

A stolen base most often occurs when a base runner advances to the next base while the pitcher is pitching the ball to home plate.

Successful base stealers are not only fast but have good baserunning instincts and timing.

Baseball steal
The all-time stolen base leader, Rickey Henderson, steals third base in 1988.


Ned Cuthbert, playing for the Philadelphia Keystones in either 1863 or 1865, was the first player to steal a base in a baseball game, although the term stolen base was not used until 1870.[2] For a time in the 19th century, stolen bases were credited when a baserunner reached an extra base on a base hit from another player.[3] For example, if a runner on first base reached third base on a single, it counted as a steal. In 1887, Hugh Nicol set a still-standing Major League record with 138 stolen bases,[4] many of which would not have counted under modern rules.[3] Modern steal rules were fully implemented in 1898.[5]

MLB HR and SB rates
Graph depicting the yearly number of home runs (blue line) and stolen bases (pink line) per MLB game. The two primary periods in which the stolen base was popular were before 1920 and again in the 1970s and 1980s.

Base stealing was popular in the game's early decades, with speedsters such as Ty Cobb and Clyde Milan stealing nearly 100 bases in a season. But the tactic fell into relative disuse after Babe Ruth introduced the era of the home run – in 1955, for example, no one in baseball stole more than 25 bases, and Dom DiMaggio won the AL stolen base title in 1950 with just 15. However, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, base-stealing was brought back to prominence primarily by Luis Aparicio and Maury Wills, who broke Cobb's modern single-season record by stealing 104 bases in 1962. Wills' record was broken in turn by Lou Brock in 1974, and Rickey Henderson in 1982. The stolen base remained a popular tactic through the 1980s, perhaps best exemplified by Vince Coleman and the St. Louis Cardinals, but began to decline again in the 1990s as the frequency of home runs reached record heights and the steal-friendly artificial turf ballparks began to disappear.

Base stealing is an important characteristic of the "small ball" managing style (or "manufacturing runs"). Such managers emphasize "doing the little things" (including risky running plays like base-stealing) to advance runners and score runs, often relying on pitching and defense to keep games close. The Los Angeles Dodgers of the 1960s, led by pitcher Sandy Koufax and speedy shortstop Maury Wills, were a successful example of this style. The antithesis of this is reliance on power hitting, exemplified by the Baltimore Orioles of the 1970s, which aspired to score most of its runs via home runs. Often the "small ball" model is associated with the National League, while power hitting is associated with the American League. However, some successful recent American League teams, including the 2002 Anaheim Angels, the 2001 Seattle Mariners and the 2005 Chicago White Sox have excelled at "small ball." The Kansas City Royals have embodied this style recently, leading the league in stolen bases but finishing last in home runs in 2013 and 2014. Successful teams often combine both styles, with speedy runners complementing power hitters—such as the 2005 White Sox, who hit 200 home runs, which was fifth most in the majors, and had 137 stolen bases, which was fourth.[6]

Base-stealing technique

Baseball's Rule 8 (The Pitcher) specifies the pitching procedure in detail. For example, in the Set Position, the pitcher must "com[e] to a complete stop"; thereafter, "any natural motion associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without alteration or interruption."[7] A runner intending to "steal on the pitcher" breaks for the next base the moment the pitcher commits to pitch to home plate. The pitcher cannot abort the pitch and try to put the runner out; this is a balk under Rule 8.

If the runner breaks too soon (before the pitcher is obliged to complete a pitch), the pitcher may throw to a base rather than pitch, and the runner is usually picked off by being tagged out between the bases. Past this moment, any delay in the runner's break makes it more likely that the catcher, after receiving the pitch, will be able to throw the runner out at the destination base.

Before the pitch, the runner takes a lead-off, walking several steps away from the base as a head start toward the next base. Even a runner who does not intend to steal takes a secondary lead of a few more steps, once the pitcher has legally committed to complete the pitch.

The pitcher may, without limit, throw the ball to the runner's base. The runner must return to that base or risk being tagged out; but the underlying strategy is thereby to dissuade the runner from too big a lead-off; that is, to hold the runner on his original base.

The more adept base stealers are proficient at reading the pickoff, meaning that they can detect certain tells (tell-tale signs) in a pitcher's pre-pitch movements or mannerisms that indicate the pickoff attempt is or is not imminent. For example, one experienced base stealer noted that careless pitchers dig the toes on their back foot into the ground when they are about to pitch in order to get a better push off, but when they intend to turn and throw a pickoff, they do not.[8]

If a batted ball is caught on the fly, the runner must return to his original base. In this case, a runner trying to steal is more likely to be caught off his original base, resulting in a double play. This is a minor risk of a steal attempt. It is offset by the fact that a ground ball double play is less likely.

Plays involving baserunning

In the hit-and-run play, coaches coordinate the actions of runner and batter. The runner tries to steal and the batter swings at almost any pitch, if only to distract the catcher. If the batter makes contact, the runner has a greater chance of reaching the next base; if the batter gets a base hit, the runner may be able to take an extra base. If the batter fails to hit the ball, the hit-and-run becomes a pure steal attempt.

In the delayed steal, the runner does not take advantage of the pitcher's duty to complete a pitch, but relies on surprise and takes advantage of any complacency by the fielders. The runner gives the impression he is not trying to steal, and does not break for the next base until the ball crosses the plate. It is rare for Major League defenses to be fooled, but the play is used effectively at the college level. The first delayed steal on record was performed by Miller Huggins in 1903.[9] The delayed steal was famously practiced by Eddie Stanky of the Brooklyn Dodgers.[10]

Second base is the base most often stolen, because once a runner is on second base he is considered to be in scoring position, meaning that he is expected to be able to run home and score on most routine singles hit into the outfield.[8] Second base is also the easiest to steal, as it is farthest from home plate and thus a longer throw from the catcher is required to prevent it. Third base is a shorter throw for the catcher, but the runner is able to take a longer lead off second base and can leave for third base earlier against a left-handed pitcher. A steal of home plate is the riskiest, as the catcher only needs to tag out the runner after receiving the ball from the pitcher. It is difficult for the runner to cover the distance between the bases before the ball arrives home. Ty Cobb holds the records for most steals of home in a single season (8) as well as for a career (54).[11] Steals of home are not officially recorded statistics, and must be researched through individual game accounts. Thus Cobb's totals may be even greater than is recorded.[11] Jackie Robinson famously stole home in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series. Thirty-five games have ended with a runner stealing home, but only two have occurred since 1980.[12] In a variation on the steal of home, the batter is signaled to simultaneously execute a sacrifice bunt, which results in the squeeze play. The suicide squeeze is a squeeze in which the runner on third begins to steal home without seeing the outcome of the bunt; it is so named because if the batter fails to bunt, the runner will surely be out. In contrast, when the runner on third does not commit until seeing that the ball is bunted advantageously, it is called a safety squeeze.

In more recent years, most steals of home involve a delayed double steal, in which a runner on first attempts to steal second, while the runner on third breaks for home as soon as the catcher throws to second base. If it is important to prevent the run from scoring, the catcher may hold on to the ball (conceding the steal of second) or may throw to the pitcher; this may deceive the runner at third and the pitcher may throw back to the catcher for the out.


Granderson-20th stolen base 2007
Curtis Granderson steals a base.

In baseball statistics, stolen bases are denoted by SB. Attempts to steal that result in the baserunner being out are caught stealing (CS). The sum of these statistics is steal attempts. Successful steals as a percentage of total steal attempts is called the success rate.

The rule on stolen bases[13] states that:

  • Advances that are credited to some other play are not steal attempts. For example, on a wild pitch or a passed ball, the official scorer must notice whether the runner broke for the next base before the pitch got away.
  • As usual, statistics in the case of a defensive error are based on error-free play. If a runner would have been out, but for the error, it is scored as "caught stealing, safe on the error." A catcher does not commit an error by throwing poorly to the destination base, but if any runner takes an extra base on the bad throw, it is "stolen base plus error."
  • There is no steal attempt on a dead ball, whether the runner is sent back to the original base (as on a foul ball) or is awarded the next base (as on a hit batsman). On a base award when the ball is live (such as a walk), the runner could make a steal attempt beyond the base awarded.
  • Cases where the defense intentionally allows the runner to advance without attempting to put him out are scored as defensive indifference, also called fielder's indifference, and do not count as stolen bases.[14] This is usually only scored late in games when it is clear that the defense's priority is getting the batter out. The lack of a putout attempt does not by itself indicate defensive indifference; the official scorer must also factor in the game situation and the defensive players' actions.

Relative skill at stealing bases can be judged by evaluating either a player's total number of steals or the success rate. Noted statistician Bill James has argued that unless a player has a high success rate (67-70% or better), the stolen base may be detrimental to a team.[15]

Comparing skill against players from other eras is problematic, because the definition has not been constant. Caught stealing was not recorded regularly until the middle of the 20th century. Ty Cobb, for example, was known as a great base-stealer, with 892 steals and a success rate of over 83%. However, the data on Cobb's caught stealing is missing from 12 seasons, strongly suggesting he was unsuccessful many more times than his stats indicate.[16] Carlos Beltrán, with 286 steals, has the highest career success rate of all players with over 300 stolen base attempts, at 88.3%.

Evolution of rules and scoring

Lastings Milledge and Luis Castillo
Lastings Milledge steals a base.

The first mention of the stolen base as a statistic was in the 1877 scoring rules adopted by the National League, which noted credit toward a player's total bases when a base is stolen.[17] It was not until 1886 that the stolen base appeared as something to be tracked, but was only to "appear in the summary of the game".[18]

In 1887, the stolen base was given its own individual statistical column in the box score, and was defined for purposes of scoring: "...every base made after first base has been reached by a base runner, except for those made by reason of or with the aid of a battery error (wild pitch or passed ball), or by batting, balks or by being forced off. In short, shall include all bases made by a clean steal, or through a wild throw or muff of the ball by a fielder who is directly trying to put the base runner out while attempting to steal."[19] The next year, it was clarified that any attempt to steal must be credited to the runner, and that fielders committing errors during this play must also be charged with an error. This rule also clarified that advancement of another base(s) beyond the one being stolen is not credited as a stolen base on the same play, and that an error is charged to the fielder who permitted the extra advancement. There was clarification that a runner is credited with a steal if the attempt began before a battery error. Finally, batters were credited with a stolen base if they were tagged out after over running the base.[19]

In 1892, a rule credited runners with stolen bases if a base runner advanced on a fly out, or if they advanced more than one base on any safe hit or attempted out, providing an attempt was made by the defense to put the runner out.[19] The rule was rescinded in 1897.[19]

In 1898, stolen base scoring was narrowed to no longer include advancement in the event of a fielding error, or advancement caused by a hit batsman.[20]

1904 saw an attempt to reduce the already wordy slew of rules governing stolen bases, with the stolen base now credited when "the baserunner [sic] advances a base unaided by a base hit, a put out, (or) a fielding or batter error."[21]

1910 saw the first addressing of the double and triple steal attempts. Under the new rule, when any runner is thrown out, and the other(s) are successful, the successful runners will not be credited with a stolen base.[21]

Without using the term, 1920 saw the first rule that would be referred to today as defensive indifference, as stolen bases would not be credited, unless an effort was made to stop the runner by the defense.[14] This is usually called if such is attempted in the ninth inning while that player's team is trailing, unless the runner represents the potential tying run.[22]

1931 saw a further narrowing of the criteria for awarding a stolen base. Power was given to the official scorer, in the event of a muff by the catcher in throwing, that in the judgment of the scorer the runner would have been out, to credit the catcher with an error, and not credit the runner with a stolen base.[23] Further, any successful steal on a play resulting in a wild pitch, passed ball, or balk would no longer be credited as a steal, even if the runner had started to steal before the play.[23]

One of the largest rewrites to the rules in history came in 1950.[24] The stolen base was specifically to be credited "to a runner whenever he advances one base unaided by a base hit, a putout, a forceout, a fielder's choice, a passed ball, a wild pitch, or a balk."[25]

There were noted exceptions, such as denying a stolen base to an otherwise successful steal as a part of a double or triple steal, if one other runner was thrown out in the process.[25] A stolen base would be awarded to runners who successfully stole second base as a part of a double steal with a man on third, if the other runner failed to steal home, but instead was able to return safely to third base.[25] Runners who are tagged out oversliding the base after an otherwise successful steal would not be credited with a stolen base.[25] Indifference was also credited as an exception.[25] Runners would now be credited with stolen bases if they had begun the act of stealing, and the resulting pitch was wild, or a passed ball.[25] Finally, for 1950 only, runners would be credited with a stolen base if they were "well advanced" toward the base they were attempting to steal, and the pitcher is charged with a balk, with the further exception of a player attempting to steal, who would otherwise have been forced to advance on the balk by a runner behind them.[25] This rule was removed in 1951.[25]

A clarification came in 1955 that awarded a stolen base to a runner even if he became involved in a rundown, provided he evaded the rundown and advanced to the base he intended to steal.[26]

The criteria for "caught stealing" were fine-tuned in 1979, with a runner being charged with being caught if he is put out while trying to steal, overslides a base (otherwise successfully stolen), or is picked off a base and tries to advance to the next base.[27] It is explicitly not caught stealing to be put out after a wild pitch or passed ball.[27]

"Stealing first"

While not recorded as a stolen base, the same dynamic between batter/runner and defense is on display in the case of an uncaught third strike. The batter/runner can avoid an out and become a baserunner by reaching first base ahead of the throw. This case is a strikeout that is not an out; the batter/runner's acquisition of first base is scored as a passed ball, a wild pitch, or an error. [28]

In baseball's earlier decades, a runner on second base could "steal" first base, perhaps with the intention of drawing a throw that might allow a runner on third to score (a tactic famously employed by Germany Schaefer). However, such a tactic was not recorded as a stolen base. MLB rules now forbid running clockwise on the basepaths to "confuse the defense or make a travesty of the game".[29] Further, after the pitcher assumes the pitching position, runners cannot return to any previous base.[30]

In a game on April 19, 2013,[31] Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura stole second base in the bottom of the eighth inning. After the batter up, Ryan Braun, walked, Segura broke early for third base and the pitcher, Shawn Camp of the Chicago Cubs, threw ahead of him. As Segura was chased back to second base, Braun advanced to second as well and was tagged out. Segura, thinking he was out, began to return to the home dugout behind first base, but first base coach Garth Iorg directed him to stand at first. Segura had not intentionally run the bases backwards as a deception or mockery, but no fielder tried to tag him out. Later in the inning, he attempted to steal second for the second time, but was thrown out by catcher Welington Castillo.[32]

The expression "You can't steal first base" is sometimes used in reference to a player who is fast but not very good at getting on base in the first place.[33] Former Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon is jokingly referred to as having "stolen first" in a June 26, 2001 game: after being ejected for disputing a call at first base, he yanked the base out of the ground and left the field with it, delaying the game.[34]

The independent Atlantic League instituted a new rule for the second half of the 2019 season, allowing batters to become runners on any pitch not "caught in flight" by the catcher, as they can throughout baseball after most uncaught third strikes.[35] On July 13, 2019, outfielder Tony Thomas of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs became the first player to reach first base under this rule. The press described this as "stealing first base",[36] though it is scored as described above.

See also


  1. ^ "MLB Rule 10" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  2. ^ "Mutual Base Ball Club of New York; Newspaper Game Accounts 1858-1861". Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "JockBio: Bid McPhee". Retrieved 2007-05-17.
  4. ^ "Single-Season Leaders & Records for Stolen Bases". Retrieved 2007-05-17.
  5. ^ "Baseball Rule Change Timeline". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Rule 8.01(b)" (PDF). Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Baseball Explained, by Phillip Mahony. McFarland Books, 2014. See Archived 2014-08-13 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Wheeler, Lonnie (June 3, 2003). "Huggins cornerstone to Yankees". The Cincinnati Post.
  10. ^ Spatz, Lyle (2012). The Team that Forever Changed Baseball and America: The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers. Jewish Publication Society. p. 155. ISBN 9780803239920.
  11. ^ a b "Stealing Home Base Records". Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  12. ^ Larson, J. "Stolen Victories." Baseball Research Journal #36, p. 116-119. 2007.
  13. ^ "Official Rules: Rule 10.07(g)". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
  14. ^ a b Curry, Jack "Safe at Second, but No Stolen Base to Show for It" The New York Times, Wednesday, September 23, 2009
  15. ^ "Offensive Stats 101". Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  16. ^ "Ty Cobb". Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  17. ^ Total Baseball, 5th ed., 1997, Viking Press, Thorn, John et al. ed, Scoring rules for 1877-- Batting, p. 2413
  18. ^ Total Baseball, 5th ed., 1997, Viking Press, Thorn, John et al. ed, Chronology of Scoring Rules 1878–1996, p. 2414
  19. ^ a b c d Total Baseball, 5th ed., 1997, Viking Press, Thorn, John et al. ed, Chronology of Scoring Rules 1878–1996, p. 2415
  20. ^ Total Baseball, 5th ed., 1997, Viking Press, Thorn, John et al. ed, Chronology of Scoring Rules 1878–1996, p. 2416
  21. ^ a b Total Baseball, 5th ed., 1997, Viking Press, Thorn, John et al. ed, Chronology of Scoring Rules 1878–1996, p. 2417
  22. ^ Total Baseball, 5th ed., 1997, Viking Press, Thorn, John et al. ed, Chronology of Scoring Rules 1878–1996, p. 2418
  23. ^ a b Total Baseball, 5th ed., 1997, Viking Press, Thorn, John et al. ed, Chronology of Scoring Rules 1878–1996, p. 2419
  24. ^ Total Baseball, 5th ed., 1997, Viking Press, Thorn, John et al. ed, Chronology of Scoring Rules 1878–1996, pp. 2420–23
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h Total Baseball, 5th ed., 1997, Viking Press, Thorn, John et al. ed, Chronology of Scoring Rules 1878–1996, p. 2423
  26. ^ Total Baseball, 5th ed., 1997, Viking Press, Thorn, John et al. ed, Chronology of Scoring Rules 1878–1996, p. 2426
  27. ^ a b Total Baseball, 5th ed., 1997, Viking Press, Thorn, John et al. ed, Chronology of Scoring Rules 1878–1996, p. 2429
  28. ^ Official Rules: 7.00 The Runner: 7.08(i),
  29. ^ Official Rules: 7.09 The Runner: 7.0, Retrieved on 2009-06-11.
  30. ^ Stark, Jayson (2013-04-25). "Jean Segura should've been called out". Jayson Stark Blog. ESPN. Retrieved 14 September 2018. (citing MLB Rule 7.01)
  31. ^ "Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Play By Play – April 19, 2013". 2013-04-19. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  32. ^ Miller, Stuart (April 25, 2013). "Sorting Out a Reverse Trip on the Bases". New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  33. ^ "Prospectus Q & A: Tim Raines". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  34. ^ "McClendon's 'Steal' Inspires Pirates". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. June 27, 2001. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  35. ^ "MLB, ALPB Announce Additional Rule Changes for Second Half". Yahoo Sports. Johnny Flores Jr. July 11, 2019. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  36. ^ "Atlantic League Batter Steals First Base for First Time in Pro Baseball History". Yahoo Sports. Johnny Flores Jr. July 14, 2019. Retrieved July 14, 2019.

External links

Amos Otis

Amos Joseph Otis (born April 26, 1947) is a former center fielder in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Mets (1967, 1969), Kansas City Royals (1970–1983) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1984). He batted and threw right-handed.

Billy Hamilton (baseball, born 1866)

William Robert "Sliding Billy" Hamilton (February 16, 1866 – December 15, 1940) was an American professional baseball player in Major League Baseball (MLB) during the 19th-century. He was notable for his offensive skills as a hitter and as a base stealer. He played for the Kansas City Cowboys, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Beaneaters between 1888 and 1901. Hamilton was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1961. As of early 2019, he is third on the all-time list of career stolen bases leaders.

Caught stealing

In baseball, a runner is charged, and the fielders involved are credited, with a time caught stealing when the runner attempts to advance or lead off from one base to another without the ball being batted and then is tagged out by a fielder while making the attempt. A time caught stealing cannot be charged to a batter-runner, a runner who is still advancing as the direct result of reaching base. In baseball statistics, caught stealing is denoted by CS. MLB began tracking caught stealing in 1951.

More specifically, a time caught stealing is charged when:

a runner, attempting a stolen base, is put out;

a runner is caught in a rundown play while stealing, and is tagged out; or

a runner, attempting a stolen base, is safe because a fielder is charged with an error on catching the ball, and in the judgment of the official scorer, the runner would have been out if the ball had been caught. (This official scoring is almost never made; an error is usually only charged if a bad throw or catch allows the runner to take an additional base, e.g., the runner attempts to steal second, the ball goes into the outfield, and the runner takes third as well. In such an instance the runner is credited with a steal of second, with the error accounting for the advance to third.)Rickey Henderson is the all-time leader in getting caught stealing (335 times). The current active leader is José Reyes of the New York Mets with 119 times caught. These two players are also the all-time and active leaders, respectively, for successful steal attempts.

Davey Lopes

David Earle Lopes (; born May 3, 1945) is an American former second baseman and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB). He batted and threw right-handed. He played in MLB for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros; he managed the Milwaukee Brewers.

Eddie Collins

Edward Trowbridge Collins Sr. (May 2, 1887 – March 25, 1951), nicknamed "Cocky", was an American professional baseball player, manager and executive. He played as a second baseman in Major League Baseball from 1906 to 1930 for the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox. A graduate of Columbia University, Collins holds major league career records in several categories and is among the top few players in several other categories. In 1925, Collins became just the sixth person to join the 3,000 hit club – and the last for the next 17 seasons. His 47 career home runs mark the lowest home run total for a member of the aforementioned 3,000 hit club.

Collins coached and managed in the major leagues after retiring as a player. He also served as general manager of the Boston Red Sox. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.

Freddie Patek

Freddie Joseph Patek (; born October 9, 1944), nicknamed The Flea or The Cricket, is an American former professional baseball shortstop who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals and California Angels. At 5 feet 5 inches (165 cm) tall, he was the shortest MLB player of his time.

Jim Rivera

Manuel Joseph "Jim" Rivera (July 22, 1921 – November 13, 2017) was an American professional baseball outfielder. He played for three Major League Baseball (MLB) teams over ten seasons: St. Louis Browns (1952), Chicago White Sox (1952–1961), and Kansas City Athletics (1961).

Juan Pierre

Juan D'Vaughn Pierre (born August 14, 1977) is an American former professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 2000–2013 for the Colorado Rockies, Florida/Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies. Known for his speed, he stole 614 bases in his career, the 18th-most in MLB history at the time of his retirement. He worked as an MLB Network on-air analyst before joining the Marlins as a Minor League Outfield Coordinator for the 2019 season.

Kenny Lofton

Kenneth Lofton (born May 31, 1967) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) center fielder. Lofton was a six-time All-Star (1994–1999), four-time Gold Glove Award winner (1993–1996), and at retirement, was ranked 15th among all-time stolen base leaders with 622. During his career, he played for the Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians (three different times), Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Texas Rangers.

Lofton attended the University of Arizona on a basketball scholarship. The Wildcats made it to the Final Four in 1988. He did not join the school's baseball team until his junior year.

Lofton made 11 postseason appearances, including World Series appearances in 1995 and 2002 with the Indians and Giants, respectively. From 2001 to 2007, Lofton did not spend more than one consecutive season with a team. For his career, the Indians were the only team he played with for longer than one season and the only franchise he played for more than once. Lofton played ​9 1⁄2 seasons with the Indians, helping the organization win six division titles. In 2010, he was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame.

During his professional baseball career, Lofton's single-season stolen base count led the American League (AL) on five occasions and three times for MLB. In 1994, he led the American League in hits. Lofton broke Rickey Henderson's record of 33 career postseason stolen bases during the 2007 postseason. Of his base running, Frank White said, "Lofton has out-thought a lot of major-league players" and later, "a smart, complete baseball player."

Kiki Cuyler

Hazen Shirley "Kiki" Cuyler (; August 30, 1898 – February 11, 1950) was a Major League Baseball right fielder from 1921 until 1938 who later was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cuyler established a reputation as an outstanding hitter with great speed. He regularly batted .350 or higher and finished with a .321 lifetime batting average. In 1925 Cuyler hit 18 home runs with 102 RBI. Cuyler's Pirates won the World Series that year, the only time in his career that he contributed to a World Series winner.

List of Major League Baseball annual stolen base leaders

Major League Baseball recognizes stolen base leaders in the American League and National League each season.

List of Major League Baseball career stolen bases leaders

In baseball statistics, a stolen base is credited to a baserunner when he successfully advances to the next base while the pitcher is throwing the ball to home plate. Under Rule 7.01 of Major League Baseball's (MLB) Official Rules, a runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out. Stolen bases were more common in baseball's dead-ball era, when teams relied more on stolen bases and hit and run plays than on home runs.As of September 2018, Rickey Henderson holds the MLB career stolen base record with 1,406. He is the only MLB player to have reached the 1,000 stolen bases milestone in his career. Following Henderson is Lou Brock with 938 stolen bases; Billy Hamilton is third on the all-time steals listing. His number of career steals varies with different sources, but all sources hold his career steals placing him in third on the list before Ty Cobb (897), Tim Raines (808), Vince Coleman (752), Arlie Latham (742), Eddie Collins (741), Max Carey (738), and Honus Wagner (723), who are the only other players to have stolen at least 700 bases. Coleman is the leader for retired players that are not members of the Hall of Fame. Hugh Nicol is the leader for the most stolen bases in one season, with 138 stolen bases in 1887.Brock held the all-time career stolen bases before being surpassed by Henderson in 1991. Brock had held the record from 1977 to 1991. Before Brock, Hamilton held the record for eighty-one years, from 1897 to 1977. Before that, Latham held the record from 1887 to 1896. Latham was also the first player to collect 300 career stolen bases. With Kenny Lofton's retirement in 2007, 2008 was the first season since 1967 in which no active player had more than 500 career stolen bases. Between 2008 and 2010, no active player had more than 500 stolen bases until Juan Pierre collected his 500th stolen base on August 5, 2010. He was the leader in stolen bases for active players until his retirement at the end of the 2013 season. José Reyes is the current active leader in stolen bases with 517 career.

List of Major League Baseball stolen base records

Stolen bases were not officially noted in a baseball game's summary until 1886, and it was not until 1888 that it officially earned a place in the box score. The modern rule for stolen bases was adopted in 1898. While some sources do not include stolen base records before 1898 because they are difficult to compare to the era after 1898, as the sourcing on the below list indicates, Major League Baseball continues to recognize them.

Source: Notes:

Historical totals reported by other sources may vary—for example, ranks Arlie Latham ahead of Eddie Collins, with totals of 742 and 741, respectively.

As of the 2019 MLB season, only one currently active player, Rajai Davis, has more than 400.

Lou Brock

Louis Clark Brock (born June 18, 1939) is an American former professional baseball player. He began his 19-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career playing in 1961 for the Chicago Cubs, and spent the majority of his career playing as a left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985 and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014. He is currently a special instructor coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Brock was best known for breaking Ty Cobb's all-time major league stolen base record in 1977. He was an All-Star for six seasons and a National League (NL) stolen base leader for eight seasons. He led the NL in doubles and triples in 1968. He also led the NL in singles in 1972, and was the runner-up for the NL Most Valuable Player Award in 1974.

Maury Wills

Maurice Morning Wills (born October 2, 1932) is an American former professional baseball player and manager. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) primarily for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1959 through 1966 and the latter part of 1969 through 1972 as a shortstop and switch-hitter; he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1967 and 1968, and the Montreal Expos the first part of 1969. Wills was an essential component of the Dodgers' championship teams in the mid-1960s, and is credited for reviving the stolen base as part of baseball strategy.Wills was the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1962, stealing a record 104 bases to break the old modern era mark of 96, set by Ty Cobb in 1915. He was an All-Star for five seasons and seven All-Star Games, and was the first MLB All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in 1962. He also won Gold Gloves in 1961 and 1962. In a fourteen-year career, Wills batted .281 with 20 home runs, 458 runs batted in, 2,134 hits, 1,067 runs, 177 doubles, 71 triples, and 586 stolen bases in 1,942 games. Since 2009, Wills is a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization serving as a representative of the Dodgers Legend Bureau.

In 2014, Wills appeared for the first time as a candidate on the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Golden Era Committee election ballot for possible Hall of Fame consideration in 2015 which required 12 votes. Wills missed getting elected by 3 votes. All the other candidates on the ballot also missed being elected. The Committee meets and votes on ten selected candidates from the 1947 to 1972 era every three years.

Rickey Henderson

Rickey Nelson Henley Henderson (born December 25, 1958) is an American retired professional baseball left fielder who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for nine teams from 1979 to 2003, including four separate tenures with his original team, the Oakland Athletics. Nicknamed the "Man of Steal", he is widely regarded as baseball's greatest leadoff hitter and baserunner. He holds the major league records for career stolen bases, runs, unintentional walks and leadoff home runs. At the time of his last major league game in 2003, the ten-time American League (AL) All-Star ranked among the sport's top 100 all-time home run hitters and was its all-time leader in base on balls. In 2009, he was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot appearance.

Henderson holds the single-season record for stolen bases (130 in 1982) and is the only player in AL history to steal 100 bases in a season, having done so three times. His 1,406 career steals is 50% higher than the previous record of 938 by Lou Brock. Henderson is the all-time stolen base leader for the Oakland Athletics and previously held the New York Yankees' franchise record from 1988 to 2011. He was among the league's top ten base stealers in 21 different seasons.

Henderson was named the AL's Most Valuable Player in 1990, and he was the leadoff hitter for two World Series champions: the 1989 Oakland A's and the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays. A 12-time stolen base champion, Henderson led the league in runs five times. His 25-year career elevated Henderson to the top ten in several other categories, including career at bats, games, and outfield putouts and total chances. His high on-base percentage, power hitting, and stolen base and run totals made him one of the most dynamic players of his era. He was further known for his unquenchable passion for playing baseball and a buoyant, eccentric and quotable personality that both perplexed and entertained fans. Once asked if he thought Henderson was a future Hall of Famer, statistician Bill James replied, "If you could split him in two, you'd have two Hall of Famers."

Stolen base percentage

Stolen base percentage is a statistic used in baseball.

A player's stolen base percentage (a.k.a. SB%) measures his rate of success in stealing bases. Because stolen bases tend to help a team less than times caught stealing hurt, a player needs to have a high stolen base percentage in order to contribute much value to his team. A commonly used figure is that a player needs to succeed about 2/3 of the time to break even.

With 300 minimum career attempts, Carlos Beltrán currently holds the record for highest Stolen base percentage in the Major Leagues, with .881, with Tim Raines in second, with .847.

Total Baseball developed a statistic related to stolen base percentage called "Stolen Base Runs" or SBR.

(.3 x Stolen Bases) - (.6 x Caught Stealing)

This Total Baseball statistic is aimed at quantifying base-stealing. Numerous statistical studies done by Total Baseball have shown that the break even success rate for steals (the rate at which an attempt to steal is neither helping nor hurting the team in terms of total runs scored) is about 67%. Each successful steal adds approximately .3 runs to a team's total runs scored which is much less than often believed. Therefore, the statistic is meant to estimate the impact of base-stealers, which, other than the elite base-stealers, rarely amounts to more than a few runs per year for each team.

Tim Raines

Timothy Raines Sr. (born September 16, 1959), nicknamed "Rock", is an American professional baseball coach and former player. He played as a left fielder in Major League Baseball for six teams from 1979 to 2002 and was best known for his 13 seasons with the Montreal Expos. He is regarded as one of the best leadoff hitters and baserunners in baseball history. In 2013, Raines began working in the Toronto Blue Jays organization as a roving outfield and baserunning instructor.Raines is the 1986 NL batting champion, a seven-time All-Star, and four-time stolen base champion. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.

Vince Coleman

Vincent Maurice Coleman (born September 22, 1961) is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) player, best known for his years with the St. Louis Cardinals. Primarily a left fielder, Coleman played from 1985 to 1997 and set a number of stolen base records. He was a switch hitter and threw right-handed. He was a baserunning consultant

for the Chicago White Sox during the 2015 season. He was hired by the San Francisco Giants in 2017 as a minor-league baserunning and outfield coach.

Baseball concepts
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