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Rickey Henderson, 119 and Counting

In 1982, Rickey Henderson stole more bases than 23 teams did all of last season.

By Jason Woullard August 27, 2013, 10:26 AM EST


The stolen base.  Seems as if it doesn't even exist in the world of baseball today. What used to take 70 to be in contention for the yearly stolen base crown is now a watered down 40.  The days of Vince Coleman, Willie Wilson, and Tim Raines are long gone when the league was at its peak of speedsters on the base paths. However, whenever talking about stealing bases, there is only one king: Rickey Henderson.

In 1982, Henderson stole bases at an unprecedented pace. By August 27th, when the A’s visited Milwaukee, he had already racked up 118 steals, tying Brock’s major league record. In the third inning, Henderson walked on four pitches to reach first base. The Brewers knew he would look to steal, so they pitched out to catcher Ted Simmons, who threw to shortstop Robin Yount. Henderson had indeed taken off, and he proved too fast for the Brewers’ defense, stealing his 119th base on the year. The game was stopped and Brock and American League President Lee MacPhail joined the teams on the field to congratulate the new record-holder.

Henderson, however, was not done for the day. After a walk in the sixth inning, he stole second again. In the eighth inning, after his third walk, he stole second and third base, giving him 122 steals on the year at the end of the game. Henderson finished the season with 130 stolen bases, a single-season record that still stands.


Jason Woullard is a member of The Shadow League and President of ARHE Network, contributing archived sports content to major sports organizations such as ESPN, NFL, NCAA, etc.  You can read his columns on and also follow him on Twitter @jjwoullard.

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