Rickey Henderson is the gift that keeps on giving. On this Christmas Day, Rickey’s 64th birthday, we look back on just one of the many incredible feats he’s accomplished throughout his Hall of Famer career: he set the stolen baseline single-season record 40 years ago.
On August 27, 1982, Henderson broke Lou Brock’s 118-season steals mark by stealing second base in the third inning of the Athletics’ 5-4 loss to the Brewers in Milwaukee. He set the new mark in style – the record-breaking steal was the first of four Henderson would have on the night en route to 130 for the season. The Brewers also pitched out; They couldn’t catch him no matter what they tried that night.
Here’s a look at just how incredible Rickey’s unforgettable 1982 campaign was:
Only five players this century have stolen half as many bases in one season as Henderson did in 1982
Yes, stolen bases have been destroyed in recent years, but what Rickey did in 1982 remains stunning by any measure and at any time. This is illustrated by the fact that only five players since 2000 have stolen half as many bases as the 1982 total of 130: Scott Podsednik stole 70 for the Brewers in 2004, Jose Reyes stole 78 for the Mets in ’07, Willy Taveras stole 68 for the Rockies in ’08, Jacoby Ellsbury stole 70 for the Red Sox in ’09, and Juan Pierre stole 68 for the White Sox in ’10.
Only three other players in modern era AL/NL history (since 1900) stole 100 or more bases in a season
Aside from Henderson, who has made it three times in his career (1980, ’82 and ’83), only three other men in modern-era AL/NL history have stolen at least 100 bases in a single season – Maury Wills (104 im year 1962), Lou Brock (118 in 1974) and Vince Coleman (110 in 1985, 107 in ’86 and 109 in ’87).
only 14 teams has stolen more than 130 bases in one season for the past 10 years
Don’t worry, your eyes aren’t fooling you — it’s true: Only 14 teams have racked up 130 or more steals in a season since 2013. They are the 2013 Brewers (142), the 2013 Rangers (149), the 2013 Royals (153), the 2014 Royals (153), the 2014 Dodgers (138), the 2015 D-Backs (132), the 2015 Reds ( 134), the 2016 D-Backs (137), the 2016 Reds (139), 2016 Cleveland (134), the 2016 Brewers (181), the 2017 Angels (136), 2018 Cleveland (135), and the 2019 Rangers (131 ).
In the past three seasons, no team has stolen as many bases as Henderson did in 1982.
Henderson stole four bases in a game three times in 1982 — there have not been a single four-steal game in MLB for the past three seasons
Rickey stole four bases in a game three times during the 1982 season, including on August 27 in the game where he set a new single-season steal record. Nobody has stolen four bags in a single game in the last three seasons. To find three such cases, you would have to go back to 2018-19. On August 12, 2018, the Padres’ Travis Jankowski stole four bases against the Phillies. On May 27, 2019, the Mariners’ Mallex Smith stole four against Rangers. And on September 24, 2019, the Marlins’ Jon Berti stole four against the Mets.
Henderson had nearly as many steals as hits in 1982
Rickey had 143 hits in 1982, just 13 more than the number of stolen bases he recorded that season. Not only that, he had 25 more steals than singles (105).
Henderson stole 15 bags against a single team in 1982
Rickey racked up double-digit steals against five teams in 1982. He stole 15 on Cleveland Pitchers and Catchers alone. He also stole 13 against the Brewers – including four on the night he set the record – 13 against the Mariners, 13 against the Orioles and 12 against the Twins.
Henderson was caught stealing more times in 1982 than all but seven players combined
Tim Raines (78), Lonnie Smith (68), Omar Moreno (60), Mookie Wilson (58), Damaso Garcia (54), Steve Sax (49) and Julio Cruz (46) were the only players who stole more bases 1982 when Rickey was caught stealing – 42.
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