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Is Julio Rodríguez the Next Stolen Base King?

  • May 13, 2022

And it was hardly just Henderson. The resurgence of stolen bases after that low point in the 1950s happened surprisingly quickly. In 1958, Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants led the majors with only 31 steals. By 1962, Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers was changing the game — and setting a new modern record — with 104.

Steals became so frequent that in 1976, 10 players had 50 or more in the same season, and the average number of steals topped 0.7 a game — a figure it would reach in 22 consecutive seasons.

In that spirit, a return to stealing bases may seem unlikely right now, but all it would presumably take is a player wanting to do it and a team not telling him to stop. The resurgence could blossom from there.

Should that happen, Henderson will not need to lose sleep about his records.

If Rodríguez, or anyone else, gets to 50 in a season, they could repeat that feat for a span of 28 consecutive seasons and still be six short of tying Henderson. It’s not impossible, of course, but like the feats of Chamberlain and Gretzky, it is a record so outlandish that it is best to not spend too much time pondering whether anyone could threaten it.

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