Sunday, October 2, 2011

#2 Rickey Henderson Record Breaker

Alright, now we're talking about a legitimate highlight!  Rickey Henderson stole an incredible 130 bases in 1982 shattering the previous record of 118 held by Lou Brock.

This is a nice shot of Henderson prowling off second base, dirt on his uniform, gold chain dangling from his neck, wristbands and headband in place. Having another HOF'er in Cal Ripken lurking in the background is a nice bonus.

The back doesn't mention his season ending total of 130.  I guess Topps only wants to recognize that a new record has been set, paying no attention to season ending total.

The progression of the single season stolen base record starting in 1901:

Frank Isbell,1901- 52
Frank Chance,1903- 67
Jimmy Sheckard, 1903- 67 
Ty Cobb, 1909- 76
Eddie Collins, 1910- 81
Ty Cobb, 1911- 83
Clyde Milan, 1912- 88
Ty Cobb, 1915- 96
Maury Wills, 1962- 104
Lou Brock, 1974- 118
Henderson, 1982- 130
The record gradually increases during the dead ball era.  Then Babe Ruth came along and runners stopped stealing so many bases. That was until the expansion era started in '62.  As a kid I always thought maybe Vince Coleman would threaten the record.  While Coleman had straight seasons of 110, 107, and 109 he couldn't get on base as much as Rickey.  Nor could Coleman stay healthy.  Henderson of course would go on to play until he was 44 and set numerous MLB records along the way.

Interestingly there were some outrageous steal totals in the 19th century.  A good many of those can be attributed to the scoring of the day, which awarded a stolen base to a runner taking an extra base- for instance going from first to third on a single. For those curious about the pre-1901 record, Hugh Nicol swiped 138 bases in 1887.  Nicol a 5' 4" outfielder born in England played for Cincinnati of the American Association.  Somehow I don't think Rickey is impressed.

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