OTD in 1991: Rickey Henderson Steals 4 Bases in a Game for 18th Time

Rickey Henderson, who debuted with the Oakland Athletics in 1979 and who would have four separate tours of duty with the A's, stole four bases in a game 19 times, but 1991 was the last season in which he would do it. He'd play another dozen years without getting four in a game again.
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Over the space of a career that lasted a quarter of a century, it seemed like Rickey Henderson could steal bases at will.

He set records for the most steals in a season (130 in 1982) and in a career (1406) and is tied with Vince Coleman for the most 100-steal seasons (three, 1989, 1982, 1983).

And he liked to steal bases in bunches. On 18 occasions he stole four or more bases in a game, and on this date in 1991 he stole four bases against the Milwaukee Brewers.

But all that running takes a toll on the legs. Henderson was 32 in the 1991 season, and it would be the last time he’d steal as many as four bases in a season. (He also did it on Oct. 5 against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas, the next-to-last day of the season.

After that he would play another dozen years, but he would be more selective as time went on and would steal no more than three bases in a game.

Here’s a list of Henderson’s 19 four-or-more steal games.

1980: July 27 (Game2) A’s at Detroit; Sept. 21 A’s at Kansas City; Sept. 27 A’s vs. Milwaukee.

1982: May 30 (Game 2) A’s vs. Detroit; A’s June 13 at Toronto; Aug. 27, A’s at Milwaukee.

1983: July 3 A’s vs. Texas; Aug. 19 A’s at Milwaukee; Aug. 23 A’s at New York Yankees.

1984: July 2 A’s at Boston.

1985: July 26, Yankees at Baltimore.

1987: May 3, Yankees at Minnesota.

1988: April 11, Yankees at Toronto; May 7, Yankees at Texas; Aug. 11, Yankees vs. Toronto.

1989: July 29, A’s vs. Seattle (5 steals); Sept. 20, A’s at Cleveland.

1991: June 15 (Game 1), A’s at Milwaukee; Oct. 5 A’s at Texas.

Four of Henderson’s four-steal games came against the Brewers, including the one on this day in 1991. That’s more than against any other team, although overall he would steal more bases against nine other teams, topped by the 110 he had against both the Twins and the Blue Jays.

And for all of the running he did, A’s fans didn’t get to see many of the big steal games live at the Coliseum. All but five of the 19 four-steal games came on the road, although Henderson’s single-game record of five steal, on July 29 against Seattle was at the Coliseum.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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