With an exceptionally exciting World Series tied at two games each (echoes of 1960 with the Angels in the Yankees’ role of burying, and the Giants in the Pirates’ role of eking) David Hogberg brings up an excellent point: why is it that no one seems to care about base stealing anymore? Specifically, this is the twenty-year anniversary of Ricky Henderson’s single season stolen base record – who knew?
- Rickey Henderson is arrogant and uncooperative with the media? So is Barry Bonds, but that hasn’t stopped the press from slobbering all over his recent achievements. Henderson’s career has gone on too long? So did Pete Rose’s. I’ll bet if you do a Lexus/Nexus search of Rose and Henderson, you’ll find more articles about the former than the latter this last season.
Or perhaps stealing bases aren’t an achievement on par with hitting home runs? Okay, okay, that question is a straw man; here comes the predictable knock down: Let’s compare milestones, that of hitting 60 home runs in a season with stealing 100 bases. Only five players in the last one-hundred years have hit 60 or more home runs: Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds. Only four have stolen 100 or more bases: Maury Wills, Lou Brock, Rickey Henderson, and Vince Coleman. The home-run hitters have collectively hit 60 or more eight times – Ruth, 1927; Maris, 1961; McGwire, 1998, 99; Sosa, 1998, 99, 2001; Bonds, 2001. The base-stealers have collectively stolen 100 bases or more eight times – Wills, 1962; Brock, 1974; Henderson, 1980, 82, 83; Coleman, 1985, 86, 87. Stealing 100 bases is just as rare an achievement as hitting 60 home-runs.
Hogberg has more info and comparisons so check it out. Before the season is gone forever, let’s give Ricky – the greatest lead off hitter of all time – his due.