The Best Base Stealers Since 1900

If the stolen base is the lost art, what does that make the caught stealing? Using the SQL database I decided to find the best basestealing runs created (.22*SB - .38*CS as BSRC) by the decade. The results with some commentary after the jump.

1985nl_medium

 

 

Unsurprisingly, stolen bases (or caught stealings, more appropriately) weren’t well recorded in the early 1900’s. For that reason we’ll skip the decade, otherwise we’d have zero caught stealing data to work from, and that defeats the purpose. Eddie Collins, Ty Cobb, and Bob Bescher were the three to record more than 70 steals, which is at least worth noting.

 

Player Year Team SB CS BSRC
maisefr01 1914 NYA 74 17 9.82
cobbty01 1915 DET 96 38 6.68
maisefr01 1915 NYA 51 12 6.66
careyma01 1916 PIT 63 19 6.64
cobbty01 1916 DET 68 24 5.84
beschbo01 1916 SLN 39 12 4.02
moellda01 1915 WS1 32 10 3.24
bresnro01 1915 CHN 19 3 3.04
saiervi01 1915 CHN 29 9 2.96
schanwa01 1915 PHA 18 3 2.82
hartzro01 1914 NYA 22 25 -4.66
demmira01 1914 CHA 12 20 -4.96
gardnla01 1914 BOS 16 23 -5.22
stockmi01 1916 PHI 21 26 -5.26
fishebo01 1915 CHN 9 20 -5.62
hartzro01 1915 NYA 7 19 -5.68
cookdo01 1914 NYA 26 32 -6.44
lewisdu01 1914 BOS 22 31 -6.94
bancrda01 1915 PHI 15 27 -6.96
griffto01 1915 CIN 6 24 -7.8

It was 1914 that a player was on record for encroaching on 10 runs, or a win, solely on the basepaths. Fritz Maisel, a skittish third baseman for the New York Yankees, stole a base 74 times and was caught 17 times for a nifty 9.82 BSRC. Maisel would also record 6.66 BSRC in 1915, but actually finished second to some guy named Ty Cobb, who had 6.68 BSRC himself. Tommy Griffith, meanwhile, finished with -7.80 BSRC, that’s what being caught four times your steals amount will do for you. The next closest was nearly a full run away at -6.96, so Griffith was in his own class of awful.

Player Year Team SB CS BSRC
careyma01 1922 PIT 51 2 10.46
careyma01 1923 PIT 51 8 8.18
careyma01 1920 PIT 52 10 7.64
careyma01 1925 PIT 46 11 5.94
friscfr01 1921 NY1 49 13 5.84
careyma01 1924 PIT 49 13 5.84
cuyleki01 1925 PIT 41 13 4.08
sislege01 1922 SLA 51 19 4
smithja03 1925 SLN 20 2 3.64
careyma01 1921 PIT 37 12 3.58
grigsde01 1924 CHN 10 19 -5.02
powelra01 1921 BSN 6 17 -5.14
duncapa01 1921 CIN 7 18 -5.3
mchenau01 1921 SLN 10 20 -5.4
seweljo01 1927 CLE 3 16 -5.42
pinelba01 1925 CIN 8 19 -5.46
fribebe01 1924 CHN 19 27 -6.08
holloch01 1922 CHN 19 29 -6.84
gardnla01 1920 CLE 3 20 -6.94
duncapa01 1922 CIN 12 28 -8

Max Carey, appropriately nicknamed "Scoops", had quite the season in 1920 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and finished with 7.64 BSRC. Our friend Max would pop up in the top five three other times. In 1922 his BSRC would be a decade leading 10.46, in 1923 8.18, and finally 5.94 in 1925. Amusingly he shows up not once more in the top 10, but twice. 6th for 1924 and his 5.84 BSRC, and 10th for 1921 and 3.58 BSRC. I’m probably not the one to appoint titles, like "best stealer in the 1920’s" but I will anyways. Max Carey was the best stealer in the 1920’s, bar none.

Player Year Team SB CS BSRC
casege01 1939 WS1 51 17 4.76
laryly01 1936 SLA 37 9 4.72
chapmbe01 1931 NYA 61 23 4.68
walkege02 1932 DET 30 6 4.32
laryly01 1935 SLA 25 4 3.98
whitejo01 1934 DET 28 6 3.88
werbebi01 1935 BOS 29 7 3.72
werbebi01 1934 BOS 40 15 3.1
mccosba01 1939 DET 20 4 2.88
laryly01 1938 CLE 23 6 2.78
applilu01 1933 CHA 6 11 -2.86
myerbu01 1931 WS1 11 14 -2.9
gehrilo01 1933 NYA 9 13 -2.96
gehrilo01 1932 NYA 4 11 -3.3
sweenbi03 1931 BOS 5 12 -3.46
doerrbo01 1939 BOS 1 10 -3.58
kressre01 1930 SLA 3 12 -3.9
knickbi01 1935 CLE 2 12 -4.12
knickbi01 1936 CLE 5 14 -4.22
kressre01 1931 SLA 3 16 -5.42

Lyn Lary and Billy Werber attempted to become the Max Carey of the 1930’s, but neither succeeded. Lary had the second, fifth, and tenth best seasons by BSRC in the decade, while Werberg had the seventh and eighth. The leader, George Case’s 1939 season doesn’t come within half of Carey’s best, but again, Max Carey was insanely good, and a half of a win on the basepaths isn’t something to be ashamed of.

Player Year Team SB CS BSRC
casege01 1943 WS1 61 14 8.1
stirnsn01 1944 NYA 55 11 7.92
casege01 1942 WS1 44 6 7.4
moseswa01 1943 CHA 56 14 7
casege01 1944 WS1 49 18 3.94
casege01 1940 WS1 35 10 3.9
casege01 1941 WS1 33 9 3.84
vernomi01 1942 WS1 25 6 3.22
walkege02 1940 WS1 21 4 3.1
applilu01 1943 CHA 27 8 2.9
applilu01 1949 CHA 7 12 -3.02
treshmi01 1940 CHA 3 10 -3.14
hallir01 1945 PHA 3 10 -3.14
weathro01 1942 CLE 8 13 -3.18
campbso01 1941 CLE 1 9 -3.2
mayoed01 1948 DET 1 9 -3.2
taborji01 1942 BOS 6 13 -3.62
hockeor01 1943 CLE 13 18 -3.98
mitchda01 1948 CLE 13 18 -3.98
boudrlo01 1942 CLE 7 16 -4.54

Case would repeat as champion in the 40’s, and only four players would finish with more than 4 BSRC. Every season within the top 12 was pre-1945, and most of those were pre-1944, which speaks towards the amount of talent lost to the war. Case appears to be our first repeat leader as well.

Player Year Team SB CS BSRC
aparilu01 1959 CHA 56 13 7.38
jethrsa01 1951 BSN 35 5 5.8
mayswi01 1956 NY1 40 10 5
reesepe01 1952 BRO 30 5 4.7
mayswi01 1958 SFN 31 6 4.54
mayswi01 1959 SFN 27 4 4.42
ashburi01 1951 PHI 29 6 4.1
aparilu01 1958 CHA 29 6 4.1
mayswi01 1955 NY1 24 4 3.76
riverji01 1958 CHA 21 3 3.48
priddje01 1952 DET 1 8 -2.82
adamsbo03 1951 CIN 4 10 -2.92
powervi01 1959 CLE 9 13 -2.96
delsiji01 1951 SLA 2 9 -2.98
smithal04 1954 CLE 2 9 -2.98
grothjo01 1952 DET 2 10 -3.36
runnepe01 1952 WS1 0 10 -3.8
hoakdo01 1957 CIN 8 15 -3.94
yosted01 1957 WS1 1 11 -3.96
floodcu01 1958 SLN 2 12 -4.12

He may or not have been bullheaded, but he didn’t three-peat. Instead Little Luis Aparicio took honors in 1959 with 7.38 BSRC. Willie Mays dominates the top 10, with 5 runs in 1956, 4.54 in 1958, 4.42 in 1959, and 3.76 in 1955. Interestingly, Sam Jethroe and Pee Wee Reese rounded out the top five, second and fourth respectively.

Player Year Team SB CS BSRC
willsma01 1962 LAN 104 13 17.94
campabe01 1969 OAK 62 8 10.6
brocklo01 1966 SLN 74 18 9.44
harpeto01 1969 SE1 73 18 9.22
brocklo01 1968 SLN 62 12 9.08
willsma01 1965 LAN 94 31 8.9
bondsbo01 1969 SFN 45 4 8.38
aparilu01 1960 CHA 51 8 8.18
wynnji01 1965 HOU 43 4 7.94
campabe01 1966 KC1 52 10 7.64
rosepe01 1963 CIN 13 15 -2.84
tasbywi01 1961 WS2 4 10 -2.92
rosepe01 1964 CIN 4 10 -2.92
bailebo01 1965 PIT 10 14 -3.12
alvisma01 1967 CLE 3 10 -3.14
callijo01 1967 PHI 6 12 -3.24
smithre06 1969 BOS 7 13 -3.4
kessido01 1967 CHN 6 13 -3.62
virdobi01 1962 PIT 5 13 -3.84
wynnji01 1968 HOU 11 17 -4.04

Maury Willis owned the 60's.  Just as amazing was Dagoberto Campaneris 1969, 62 steals and eight catches, nearly 11 runs was only good for second. Lou Brock finished third with his 1966 season of 74 steals and 9.44 BSRC, Ernie Broglio was in his final season.

Player Year Team SB CS BSRC
wilsowi02 1979 KCA 83 12 13.7
brocklo01 1974 SLN 118 33 13.42
lopesda01 1975 LAN 77 12 12.38
lefloro01 1979 DET 78 14 11.84
morgajo02 1975 CIN 67 10 10.94
rivermi01 1975 CAL 70 14 10.08
lopesda01 1976 LAN 63 10 10.06
morgajo02 1976 CIN 60 9 9.78
cruzju01 1978 SEA 59 10 9.18
morgajo02 1973 CIN 67 15 9.04
gomezlu01 1978 TOR 2 10 -3.36
mondari01 1973 CHN 5 12 -3.46
parkeda01 1977 PIT 17 19 -3.48
randlle01 1975 TEX 16 19 -3.7
maddoel01 1978 NYN 2 11 -3.74
moralje01 1974 CHN 2 12 -4.12
bellbu01 1973 CLE 7 15 -4.16
kuipedu01 1976 CLE 10 17 -4.26
milleri01 1978 CAL 3 13 -4.28
grossgr01 1974 HOU 12 20 -4.96

Willie Wilson lead the 70’s with 13.70 runs in 1979. A switch-hitting outfielder, Wilson spent most of his career with the Royals. In 1991 he moved on to Oakland and then in 1993 and 1994 wrapped his career up in the north side of Chicago, although by that time he was simply a shadow of his former stealing self. Lou Brock poached second, and Davey Lopes third. Joe Morgan makes three appearances in the top 10, and along with Lopes were the only players to record two seasons of 10+ runs. Jose Cruz finished 9th.

Player Year Team SB CS BSRC
colemvi01 1986 SLN 107 14 18.22
henderi01 1983 OAK 108 19 16.54
colemvi01 1987 SLN 109 22 15.62
henderi01 1988 NYA 93 13 15.52
colemvi01 1985 SLN 110 25 14.7
raineti01 1983 MON 90 14 14.48
lefloro01 1980 MON 97 19 14.12
henderi01 1985 NYA 80 10 13.8
wilsowi02 1980 KCA 79 10 13.58
daviser01 1986 CIN 80 11 13.42
reynoha01 1988 SEA 35 29 -3.32
cruzto02 1982 SEA 2 10 -3.36
moorech02 1982 ML4 2 10 -3.36
ramirra01 1984 ATL 14 17 -3.38
simpsjo01 1982 SEA 8 14 -3.56
parkeda01 1985 CIN 5 13 -3.84
carewro01 1982 CAL 10 17 -4.26
johnsto03 1982 TOR 3 13 -4.28
griffal01 1980 TOR 18 23 -4.78
clarkwi02 1987 SFN 5 17 -5.36

With all due respect to everyone else mentioned, things got real in the 1980’s with Vince Coleman and Rickey Henderson active. As if the stolen base lead wasn’t a big enough race, Coleman and Henderson alternate between spots on the BSRC leaderboard throughout the top five. Coleman’s 1986, 1987, and 1985 claim first, third, and fifth, while Henderson snuck in his 1983 and 1988. Coleman’s 1986 is simply astounding. 107 steals and 14 catches resulted in 18.22 runs. Wilson and Tim Raines Sr. also made appearances.

Player Year Team SB CS BSRC
grissma02 1992 MON 78 13 12.22
womacto01 1999 ARI 72 13 10.9
womacto01 1997 PIT 60 7 10.54
henderi01 1990 OAK 65 10 10.5
colemvi01 1990 SLN 77 17 10.48
grissma02 1991 MON 76 17 10.26
loftoke01 1993 CLE 70 14 10.08
loftoke01 1996 CLE 75 17 10.04
loftoke01 1992 CLE 66 12 9.96
knoblch01 1997 MIN 62 10 9.84
eisenji01 1990 KCA 12 14 -2.68
vizquom01 1993 SEA 12 14 -2.68
brunato01 1990 BOS 5 10 -2.7
burksel01 1991 BOS 6 11 -2.86
pagnoto01 1991 SLN 9 13 -2.96
biggicr01 1993 HOU 15 17 -3.16
fernato01 1992 SDN 20 20 -3.2
guilloz01 1990 CHA 13 17 -3.6
vizcajo01 1994 NYN 1 11 -3.96
gagnegr01 1994 KCA 10 17 -4.26

While the 80’s were top heavy, the 90’s nearly featured a top 10 that combined for over 100 runs despite nobody recording more than 12.5 runs. Marquis Grissom’s 92 with the Expos tops the list, then Tony Womack in 1999 and 1997, Henderson, Coleman, Grissom again, a trio of Kenny Lofton, and finally Chuck Knoblauch. Not too shabby.

Player Year Team SB CS BSRC
taverwi01 2008 COL 68 7 12.3
podsesc01 2004 MIL 70 13 10.46
crawfca02 2006 TBA 58 9 9.34
younger01 2000 CHN 54 7 9.22
rolliji01 2008 PHI 47 3 9.2
reyesjo01 2007 NYN 78 21 9.18
suzukic01 2006 SEA 45 2 9.14
roberda07 2006 SDN 49 6 8.5
pierrju01 2007 LAN 64 15 8.38
roberbr01 2007 BAL 50 7 8.34
pierzaj01 2001 MIN 1 7 -2.44
kendaja01 2001 PIT 13 14 -2.46
bergepe01 2000 MON 11 13 -2.52
castilu01 2003 FLO 21 19 -2.6
clarkbr02 2005 MIL 10 13 -2.74
robleos01 2005 LAN 0 8 -3.04
offerjo01 2000 BOS 0 8 -3.04
paytoja01 2000 NYN 5 11 -3.08
riverju01 2005 LAA 1 9 -3.2
uribeju01 2007 CHA 1 9 -3.2

Things aren’t nearly as impressive in the 2000’s. Willy Taveras’ 2008 tops the list with 12.3 runs, Scott Podsednik’s 2004 finishes second, and from there we don’t have a single 10+ run contributor. Carl Crawford’s 2006 comes close at 9.34, as does Eric Young’s 2000, but after that you have only two other 9+ BSRC: Jimmy Rollins in2008 and Jose Reyes in 2007. File this under odd: two Juans, Rivera and Uribe, finished with the worst BSRC, -3.2. I won’t make the "Number Juan" joke here because I’m not that sad.

For those curious, the ten best and worst of the 1900's:

 

Player Year Team SB CS BSRC
colemvi01 1986 SLN 107 14 18.22
willsma01 1962 LAN 104 13 17.94
henderi01 1983 OAK 108 19 16.54
colemvi01 1987 SLN 109 22 15.62
henderi01 1988 NYA 93 13 15.52
colemvi01 1985 SLN 110 25 14.7
raineti01 1983 MON 90 14 14.48
lefloro01 1980 MON 97 19 14.12
henderi01 1985 NYA 80 10 13.8
wilsowi02 1979 KCA 83 12 13.7
fishebo01 1915 CHN 9 20 -5.62
hartzro01 1915 NYA 7 19 -5.68
fribebe01 1924 CHN 19 27 -6.08
cookdo01 1914 NYA 26 32 -6.44
holloch01 1922 CHN 19 29 -6.84
gardnla01 1920 CLE 3 20 -6.94
lewisdu01 1914 BOS 22 31 -6.94
bancrda01 1915 PHI 15 27 -6.96
griffto01 1915 CIN 6 24 -7.8
duncapa01 1922 CIN 12 28 -8

 

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