While the stolen base seems to be a thing of the past, the Cincinnati Reds have had some of the best thieves in the history of Major League Baseball.
Base stealing was popular during the infancy of the sport. Hall of Famer Ty Cobb led the league in stolen bases on six different occasions and once stolen 96 bases in a single season. Nowadays, due to analytics, a stolen base is as uncommon as a bunt. However, the Cincinnati Reds‘ storied history is littered with players who loved to show off their speed.
Babe Ruth put an end to the stolen base after introducing fans to the long ball. Swiping a bag was no longer the “in” thing and hitting home runs became the standard. In fact, the stolen base was a lost art during the 1955 season when no one in Major League Baseball stole more than 25 bases.
The stolen base was resurrected by Luis Aparicio and Maury Wills in the 1960s. Aparicio led the league in stolen bases from 1956-1964, totaling 366 swipes. Wills recorded 104 steals during the 1962 season and thievery was cool once again.
Rickey Henderson, of course, is the most iconic base stealer of all-time. The Hall of Famer swiped 80 bags or more in 6 of his 25 seasons and holds the major league record with 1406 career steals, 867 of which came while he was with the Oakland Athletics.
Players such as Brandon Phillips, Ryan Freel, and Vada Pinson were quite elusive on the base paths, but which players in Cincinnati Reds’ history were the best at it? Let’s take a look at the Top 10 franchise leaders in stolen bases.