Where does Roberts' ALCS theft rank among greatest steals ever?
There really are not that many famous stolen bases in baseball history. In honor of former big leaguer
But there are not many other successful stolen bases that come to mind (many will remember that
Sorry, took me 23 seconds. Oh well. Point is, famous home runs come a lot easier because home runs are conclusive, they empty the bases, they complete the scoring. A big stolen base, most of the time, is like an important defensive rebound or a great fourth-down completion that keeps a drive alive. Hugely important. But not especially memorable.
Still, by stretching just a little bit -- along with a whole lot of Twitter friend help -- I did come up with 10 great stolen bases. True, a couple of them are fictional. But, hey, we have to do what we have to do.
There are quite a few famous baseball scenes in popular music. There's
But let's be honest: Many baseball lyrics tend to revolve around sex -- you know, the whole getting to first base, second base and so on. And the classic of the genre is
In some ways, I'm stunned that this stolen base isn't more famous; Keith was the only person to recommend it. I suspect this is because Ruiz's steal helped destroy a team but did not lift his own team to glory.
Anyway, you probably know the play. This was 1964, and the miracle Phillies were less than two weeks away from one of the more stunning pennants in baseball history. The Phillies and
Then, on Monday, Sept. 21, the Phillies played the Reds. The game was scoreless into the sixth when 25-year-old rookie
But sure enough, with
One other interesting tidbit: It was actually the second time in three days that the Phillies lost a game on a steal of home. On Saturday, the Phillies lost to the Dodgers in 16 innings, the winning run scoring on
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On Aug. 22, 1982, the St. Louis Cardinals were two games up on Philadelphia in the NL East and the Cardinals were winning games in the most ridiculous ways. They would hit only 67 home runs as a team that year. But with
The fun part about it all is that, based on his postgame comments, Brummer did not know he was going to try to steal home until he actually was doing it. Giants lefty
And on the fourth pitch, without even thinking about it, Brummer took off for home as Lavelle began the windup. He scored -- one of only four stolen bases in his career. "No one would have ever thought I would steal home in the major leagues... including me," Brummer said.
The UPI lead was a classic: "If major league baseball gave an annual award for 'chutzpah,' rookie Glenn Brummer would easily win this year's trophy, and it would be made of solid brass."
It's too recent to be sure just where
There were two outs in the top of the ninth against Philadelphia closer
Then it happened. With
In the decisive Game 5 of the 1972 American League Championship Series, Detroit was leading Oakland 1-0 in the second inning. It was early in the game, but it was still tense. With two outs, Oakland's
One great little tidbit from that game comes from
This is the one that broke
The second reason, of course, was the speech, where after setting the record, Henderson was handed a microphone and said to the crowd, "Lou Brock was the symbol of great base-stealing. But today I am the greatest of alltime. Thank you."
This whole project, of course, was inspired by Dave Roberts and began with a question: Was Roberts' steal REALLY one of the 10 most famous of alltime? After all, it doesn't really have the same kind of drama as the other steals on the list and a few that did not make it, such as
I mean, let's face it. The Red Sox were already down to the Yankees 3-games-to-0 in the American League Championship Series. No team had ever come back from 3-0. Roberts did not score the winning run. A million things still had to happen for Boston to pull off the miracle comeback. So why is this stolen base so famous?
I think it's based on a couple of things. One, I think Roberts' steal reminded baseball fans about the power of the stolen base. The stolen base has had an up and down history in baseball -- sometimes it's in vogue and sometimes it's not. Nobody stole in the 1940s; everyone did in the 1970s.
Some managers think it's a big part of baseball, and others would be more than happy to have it outlawed. When
And even after Millar drew the walk, the Series was still over. This was Mariano Rivera. Except then Dave Roberts came into the game as a pinch-runner, and suddenly there was just a little buzz.
And yes, when Roberts stole second, something changed. That's the second thing: Baseball, like all sports, has this wonderful element of destiny attached to it. That's not to say that any team is really destined to win, but sometimes teams BELIEVE they are destined. And that belief can mean something. There came a time when the 1980 U.S. hockey team BELIEVED that it could beat the Soviets. There came a time when U.S. Olympic wrestler
And when Dave Roberts stole second, and Bill Mueller drove him home to tie the game, the Red Sox BELIEVED that they could win that game. And once they won that game, they BELIEVED that they could win the next. And once they won that game, and the game after that, they BELIEVED that there was no chance that they were going to lose Game 7.
Yes, it's just a stolen base. And there will always be plenty of people who will think it's overrated. I doubt that any of those people are Red Sox fans, though.
You know what interests me most about
No, what interests me is this: watch
I have looked around a little bit to find proof that Ford did not pitch that ball, that he indeed stepped off the rubber and threw home, and I seem to find mixed evidence.
Anyway, if that's indeed a pitch from Ford, then Berra very clearly interfered with Kellert. I'm assuming that it was not a pitch. But I will admit, it's just so strange to see Kellert looking like he wants to swing the bat and not getting out of the box until the last second.
Three other interesting tidbits, at least to me:
• One, Billy Martin tried to steal home earlier in the game but was caught.
• Two, people tend to forget that the steal of home did not have much effect on the game. The Dodgers trailed by two runs when Robinson stole home -- even Robinson admitted that it was probably a foolhardy risk on his part to try that steal, down by two runs in the eighth. He made it, but the Yankees still won the game 6-5, lifted by
• Three, there was a great Yogi-ism after that game, but one I don't think I've heard before. Yogi was enraged by the call, and remains enraged by the call over half a century later. Still, I don't think he could have said it any better than he did after the game.
"It was a close play," Yogi told reporters, "but I had him easy."