Talk:Stolen base

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2004 ALCS example[edit]

I fail to see the extrene significance of this stolen base such that it should be singled out and explained in detail here. Boston's comeback in the series was remarkable but it seems unlikely that one stolen base was the difference. I am removing it; discuss here before reverting. --feitclub 15:49, Jun 16, 2005 (UTC)

No argument from me. The 2004 ALCS is hardly a milestone in the history of the stolen base (though perhaps the other way around), and thus the anecdote detracts from the article's universality. It was apparently inserted on 7 May by, and subsequent revisers like me simply edited rather than remove vestigial paragraphs. I wouldn't mind seeing the Germany Schaefer anecdote go away as well, or at least be trimmed significantly. --BlueMoonlet 20:02, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I removed the link to that series as well. Was wondering what it was doing here. Doctofunk 21:08, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Germany Schaefer[edit]

I added the second anecdote about Schaefer stealing 1st. Funny stories. Its too bad no one is that daring anymore. But back on topic! I'm wondering if my story, which I got from Cobb's autobiography, isn't the same story as in the first instance. Its sort of coincedental that Davey Jones was on third both times, I think. I mean, Schaefer was clearly a nut but what are the chances of Jones being on third both times? Also, would Honus Wagner be a better example of dead-ball base stealers than Clyde Milan? I'd never even heard of Milan before and Wagner stole upwards of 250 more bases in his career than Milan did. Just my opinion though. --mgm41887 18 Jun 2005

That's my suspicion about the Schaefer story also. If you want to fix it, maybe doing some research to get the story right, that would be great. A more streamlined version of that paragraph would be less objectionable. I created a stub for Milan, which may make it more clear why I mentioned him. Wagner would also be a fine example, though his single-season totals were not as high. --BlueMoonlet 15:40, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Unfortunately I don't know who put in the first Schaefer story, so I really can't be sure if they're the same story, but honestly, what are the odds that Davey Jones would be the runner both times? How many times could Schaefer possibly have been in that situation? One instance of Schaefer stealing first should be enough and I got mine right out of Cobb's autobiography, so if you want to take either one out, I won't have any problem. Also, should some mention maybe be made of Scott Podsednik as an up and coming base-stealer? He's sort of reviving the art of stealing a ton of bases. I know the White Sox are mentioned as a team, but who else on the team steals bases en masse like Podsednik? --mgm41887 1:55 12 Jul 2005

I took out Germany altogether, leaving the story in general terms only. If you want to replace the particular characters from your book, I wouldn't object. I also revamped the "small ball" paragraph, not that my version needs to be final. My opinion is that it's probably best not to write too much about current players, but to wait until we have the perspective of history. --BlueMoonlet 15:47, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

I agree about both Schaefer and Podsednik. Give Podsednik a few years at least to see if he remains consistent. Schaefer is a barely known, but interesting, character in baseball history and since stealing first base has been illegal for about 85 years because of his antics, it really isn't even relevant any more. Oh, and if you are a fan of baseball from the Dead Ball era and Ty Cobb in general, his book is great, and if you don't believe his story, check Al Stump's version. It truly is a wealth of information. Mgm41887 06:20, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Count 500[edit]

I read somewhere, but can't find it on his page (or here), that Joe Morgan was first player to HR 200 & steal 500. Can somebody confirm? Trekphiler 08:53, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Stop, thief![edit]

I read somewhere Eddie Cuthbert (Philadelphia Keystones) stole the first base in pro ball, in 1863. Can somebody confirm? Trekphiler 10:35, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first professional baseball team in 1869, so what you say is impossible. However, this page [1] says that it happened in 1865. I see that the Keystones were pro by 1884, but they probably weren't in 1865. --Locarno 13:54, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Throwing behind the runner[edit]

Perhaps there could be mention of this technique whereby the baserunner is picked off by the catcher rather than the pitcher. It is one of the dangers of taking a secondary lead.

- 00:28, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Uncontested Steal[edit]

If you read the first paragraph of the article, you would not know that the runner is not credited with a steal if it's uncontested. This requires a scorekeeper's judgment, but if the pitcher and catcher make no attempt to throw out a runner who is stealing a base, then the runner is not credited with a stolen base (SB).Mack2 03:25, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't think this is right. If a steal is uncontested but the defense would have liked to have thrown him out, it is still recorded as a stolen base. For example, perhaps the catcher grips the ball poorly and cannot throw, or perhaps there is no chance to put out the runner so he doesn't even begin a throw--these are still stolen bases. It is only when the defense clearly doesn't care (scorer's judgment) about the stealing runner that the advance is scored as defensive indifference (DI) and not as a stolen base. From the rule book 10.08: "A stolen base shall be credited to a runner whenever he advances one base unaided by a hit, a putout, an error, a force-out, a fielder’s choice, a passed ball, a wild pitch or a balk, subject to the following: (g) No stolen base shall be scored when a runner advances solely because of the defensive team’s indifference to his advance." (emphasis mine) --Locarno 14:39, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I've only seen Defensive Indifference ruled in one of two types of cases, both involving the ninth (or last) inning. (1) When the run represented by the runner is truly valueless and the defense makes no play at all. This would be, e.g., the winning run at third and another runner taking second without a play. Or (2) when the team at bat is trailing by many runs, the defense may allow a runner to advance without a play, as his position on the bases is essentially meaningless. However, in other circumstances when the catcher permits a steal of second without a throw to keep another runner at third, the scorer will usually attribute this to caution rather than indifference. WHPratt (talk) 15:45, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
If I may editorialize here, I believe that an encyclopedia ought to present all the details about a topic in the name of completeness. However, it should not let the truly esoteric stuff get in the way of the basic definition. Someone who doesn't know baseball and wants to know what a stolen base is should be informed early on that it involves a runner advancing on his own initiative, that is, without the benefit of a hit, error, etc., etc. Sometime after the main discussion, he should be told, oh, by the way, there are some exceptions. Defensive Indifference belongs here, not in the first paragraph. (If that bothers some of you, then maybe a token insertion of "(with some exceptions noted below)" could be added early on.) In introducing a new concept, one shouldn't have to include a host of minor and very minor exceptions in the same breath. If textbooks were written this way, nobody would survive the first grade. I know that I'm a fine one to talk thus, as I love the minutiae, but I think that many articles could benefit by considering this. Respectfully submitted, WHPratt (talk) 16:00, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Scoring the Dropped Third Strike[edit]

Perhaps the article could say a bit more about why a dropped-third would be scored as a 4-3 putout? Skids 15:27, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

  • I believe that is someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. I'm removing it. DandyDan2007 00:41, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Shouldn't it be a 2-3 putout, since the catcher must throw to 1B? Job L 07:52, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Double Steal[edit]

Double steal redirects here, but the article says almost nothing about double steals, and does not mention at all the very rare triple steal... Chubbles 02:02, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

This is still an issue, can someone add some text about it? I don't know enough to contribute on this topic. (talk) 21:38, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

2005 White Sox[edit]

I don't think the 2005 White Sox should be mentioned, considering that they were 5th in the Majors in HOME RUNS.Mickeyg13 07:11, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Steal on Dead Ball[edit]

If there is a foul fly ball caught for an out, the steal doesn't count. The runner must return to his time-of-pitch base, and he can't tag up since the ball is foul, and he will likely be thrown out before returning to the time-of-pitch base anyway. Is any/all of this correct? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:01, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes, except that theoretically, if he were unbelievably fast or if the defense were utterly terrible, he would potentially be able to return to his original base, tag up, and then advance via a sacrifice fly. Of course I doubt that particular scenario has ever happened in the Majors without some errors involved. Mickeyg13 05:00, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

A few words of clarification?[edit]

I came across this expression and thought I'd look here for an explanation of what it means.

In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a baserunner successfully advances to the next base while the pitcher is delivering the ball to home plate.

Fair enough. I have no idea what "home plate" means, so I click on that, and I read:

Home plate, formally designated home base in the rules, is the final base that a player must touch to score.

Now I'm confused. Why would the pitcher be "delivering the ball to home plate"? Does this mean he is actually throwing the ball for a batsman to hit? Just a couple of words somewhere would make all the difference! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:12, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

I think that the term "delivery" is the technical term for " forward motion part of the pitch". I think ( and someone more knowledgeable can correct me) that the delivery is a part of the mechanic of the pitch. That is in the typical motion of the pitcher, pitchers must start from a moment that is completely motionless, and I have heard this called "the set", then they will usually begin with the "wind up" as they twist their body backward. The delivery is the part of the motion when the pitcher's body and arm begin moving toward home plate to throw the ball. Even when a pitcher does not use the wind up (more typical when a runner is on base, and the likelihood of a steal is greater), the pitcher will simply bring the arm backward (what they usually call "the stretch"), and then begin the delivery.
so in a game, a pitcher's motion will be either: "the set, the wind up, and the delivery", or "the set, the stretch, and the delivery". However, as times have changed, I think "delivery" has just turned into being a synonym with "the overall act of pitching".
Anyone with more in depth knowledge of what's going on here, please correct me. LonelyBeacon (talk) 01:40, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Stolen bases aren't always during pitches. See rule 10.07, which begins: The official scorer shall credit a stolen base to a runner whenever the runner advances one base unaided by a hit, a putout, an error, a force-out, a fielder’s choice, a passed ball, a wild pitch or a balk, subject to the following... (I'm not sure why the rule's wording omits obstruction, catcher interference, hit-by-pitch and a couple of other rare ways described in rule 5.09, that a runner can advance without stealing.) For example, a runner could steal a base when the catcher or some other fielder makes a careless high-arcing throw back to the pitcher. SEppley (talk) 01:12, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Scoring History[edit]

I just finished adding a section on the history of scoring stolen bases. I'm not sure this is desirous, but my source only goes up to the early 1990s. This section should not be regarded as definitively complete. LonelyBeacon (talk) 14:34, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Getting to first on dropped third strike = steal???[edit]

According to this article, a player reaching first by a dropped third strike is credited with a stolen base. Has that ever been the case? Is this the case now? LonelyBeacon (talk) 18:32, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Uncaught third strike[edit]

Um, LonelyBeacon, the article actually said this before your edit:

A batter can "steal first base" only by successfully running to first base (without being tagged or thrown out) in rare circumstances following an uncaught third strike; such a play avoids an "out" and gains a baserunner, but it is recorded as a strikeout plus a passed ball or wild pitch rather than a steal. (I added the bold and italics to the significant phrase.)

But, if you found it confusing then it could probably use improvement. I think I've improved it:

Main article: Uncaught third strike

While it is not recorded as a "steal", in a practical sense a batter can be said to "steal first base" by successfully running to first base (without being tagged or thrown out) in rare circumstances following a dropped third strike; the rarely-seen play avoids an "out" and gains a baserunner. Statistically, it is recorded as a strikeout plus a passed ball or wild pitch, and a "stolen base" statistic does not accrue.

Regarding the history of the "Uncaught third strike rule", personally I just don't know if the play was ever recorded as a "steal" statistic. I'd guess not. --MySuperiorInEveryWay (talk) 15:24, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

About the claim that Segura was "not technically safe" while on first base[edit]

The section on stealing first base claims Segura was "not technically safe" while on first base. However, rule 7.08(i) implies he was safe, since his intention when running the bases in reverse order was neither to confuse the defense nor to make a travesty of the game. On the other hand, Major League Baseball decided during the week after the game that the comments after rules 7.01 and 7.08(a) indicate running back to first base was illegal. But that opinion seems a bit dubious. The comment after 7.01 applies if the runner runs backward after the pitcher assumes his pitching position, which means the official opinion looks retrospectively at the pitcher rather than considering only what the pitcher is currently doing. (In other words, after Segura stole second, the next pitch to Braun locked Segura from ever retreating back to first.) The comment after 7.08(a) appears to apply only if the runner has left the base path. SEppley (talk) 01:38, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

By the way, the video of the play shows that Segura was tagged right after he lost contact with second base on his way toward first base, but the umpire failed to call him out. The video also shows that after Segura reached first and paused there, he started walking into foul territory toward his dugout and his first base coach physically stopped him. The umpire could have called Segura out for coach's interference. More interesting: Is Segura the first player to be caught stealing a base he'd already stolen? (After he "stole" first, he attempted to steal second again but was foiled.) SEppley (talk) 00:26, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

7.01 says (among other things) "the runner may not return to a previously occupied base." But what if he does, is he out? It says he may not do it but doesn't say what the penalty for doing it is. This seems rather trivial for MLB to clarify. 7.08(i) calls into question the runner's intention not just what he does. 7.08(a) says "Any runner after reaching first base who leaves the baseline heading for his dugout or his position believing that there is no further play, may be declared out if the umpire judges the act of the runner to be considered abandoning his efforts to run the bases". So I suppose he could be called out on those grounds. But he was on the field and in the baseline when he did it. Bizarrely if you take a very narrow interpretation of the rules, they play is legal. Renard Migrant (talk) 19:22, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
Today, Anon has changed the sentence in the article that began, "While not technically safe" to begin, "Technically, he was then fully "safe"...." I have removed both verdicts and merged the two descriptions of just what happened in the game. The umpires gave no signal and neither should Wikipedia. Spike-from-NH (talk) 22:49, 22 May 2014 (UTC)


I have been tightening up the wording of this article, with a little reorganization. The biggest problem remaining is that history and personalities are sprinkled throughout the article, and Background should not be separate from the section on the evolution of the rule. I would create a section Notorious base-stealers but it is hard to separate the mentions from the context elsewhere, such as steals of home. Thoughts? Spike-from-NH (talk) 13:39, 27 April 2014 (UTC)