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Stolen Victories Jan Larson Society for American Baseball Research Rogers Hornsby Chapter Austin, Texas.

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Presentation on theme: "Stolen Victories Jan Larson Society for American Baseball Research Rogers Hornsby Chapter Austin, Texas."— Presentation transcript:

1 Stolen Victories Jan Larson Society for American Baseball Research Rogers Hornsby Chapter Austin, Texas

2 I Was There … … on August 17, 1976 when George Brett of the Kansas City Royals stole home in the bottom of the 10 th inning to defeat the Cleveland Indians. That got me wondering …. How many games have been won with a walk-off steal of home? Since 1901 there have been … 35* *more on this later

3 Research Methodology Contact SABR members about prior research –Lyle Spatz –Chuck Rosciam –Tom Ruane –Dave Smith This yielded 16 of the 35 steals* *asterisk not needed

4 Research Methodology (Cont.) ProQuest global search –Searched non-Retrosheet years using ProQuest –Year-by-year using relevant search terms: “steals home” “stole home” This yielded 15 more steals* *still not required

5 Research Methodology (Cont.) Game-by-game search. –Identified “candidate” games using Retrosheet. –ProQuest search. Headline, e.g. “DiMaggio Drives in Winner in Ninth.” Game account, e.g. “With the bases loaded, Ruth drew a pass that brought the contest to finality.” Box scores: RBIs, runs scored vs. stolen bases. This yielded 4 more steals* *now we need the asterisk

6 Statistics From 1901 through 2007 there have been … –171,814 regular and post-season games –One game-ending SOH per 4909 games. A player would have to play more than 30 seasons to expect to be in one game that ends with a steal. –18 in NL, 17 in AL –22 in extra innings –1 in post-season –Two games with game-ending SOH also featured a triple play

7 Statistics (Cont.) Game-ending steals in every decade through the 1990s –Six between –Seven between Six by players with fewer than five SBs that season Two by players with fewer than five SBs for their careers

8 Statistics (Cont.) Game-ending SOHs executed against … –Starting pitchers : 11 (RHP 8, LHP 3) –Relief pitchers : 24 (RHP 16, LHP 8) Type of steal: –Straight steal – 28 –Double steal – 3 –Failed squeeze – 2 –Trick play – 1 –“Asterisk” - 1

9 There Have Been Game Ending Steals by Six Major League Hall-of-Famers … Tony Lazzeri, Yankees, September 13, 1931 Al Lopez, Dodgers, July 2, 1933 Rod Carew, Twins, September 1, 1972 George Brett, Royals, August 17, 1976 Eddie Murray, Orioles, August 15, 1979 *there it is – stay tuned Frank Chance, Cubs, April 28, 1906*

10 … And One Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Jim Thorpe, Giants, June 5, 1918

11 Miscellany Eddie Grant, who won a game for the Cubs in 1913, was killed in action in France during WWI in Vic Power’s game winning steal in 1958 was his second steal of home in that game. Wally Moses completed a game-ending SOH twice – 1940 for the A’s and 1943 for the White Sox. Charley Root gave up two game-ending SOHs, both to the Dodgers, by Al Lopez in 1933 and Gene Moore in 1939.

12 Types of steals Double steals –Eddie Grant, Phillies, July 15, 1909 –Wilbur Good, Cubs, April 15, 1913 –Jim Thorpe, Giants, June 5, 1918 Trick play –Eddie Murray, Orioles, August 15, 1979 Doug DeCinces broke for second. P Guy Hoffman stepped off rubber, watched DeCinces while Murray crossed the plate standing up.

13 Types of steals (Cont.) Failed squeeze –Marquis Grissom, Indians, October 11, 1997 (ALCS) Omar Vizquel bunted but missed Randy Myers’ low pitch with Grissom coming down the line. The ball scooted past Orioles C Lenny Webster allowing Grissom to score winning run. Originally scored as passed ball. Changed to stolen base according to rule 10.08(a) on October 12, 1997.

14 *The Asterisk Frank Chance, Cubs, April 28, 1906 –Advanced from second to third on attempted DP. Play broken up at second. While Reds 2B Huggins argued for interference, Chance raced home. –Chicago Tribune (4/29) and The Sporting Life (5/5) box scores confirm play scored as a stolen base. –Baseball Library (baseballlibrary.com) mentions the steal in Chance’s chronology. –1996 Baseball Research Journal article by L. Robert Davids, lists game among 1-0 games won via a steal of home. –Not a SB under today’s scoring rules, but who are we to question scoring decisions a century after the fact? –Thus, the asterisk.

15 Acknowledgements Research assistance –Norman Macht –Gilbert Martinez –Patrick Gallagher –John Delahanty –Rod Nelson –Frank Vaccaro –Dave Smith –Jim Sweetman Consultants –Lyle Spatz –Chuck Rosciam –Tom Ruane –Bill Deane –Jim Smith –Bill Gilbert –Monte Cely

16 Acknowledgements (Cont.) References –Retrosheet (www.retrosheet.com) –Baseball Reference (www.baseball-reference.com) –Baseball Library (www.baseballlibrary.com) –ProQuest Historical Newspapers New York Times Chicago Tribune Boston Globe Los Angeles Times Atlanta Constitution –Paper Of Record (www.paperofrecord.com) The Sporting News


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