Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce
Paul Molitor was a superb between-the bases base runner. In 1987 he played only 118 games yet lead the A.L. with 114 runs scored! Yowsa!
Pretty compelling case for Coco Crisp - from an article in Baseball Prospectus :
Painting the Black
The Unimaginable Base-Stealing Genius of Coco Crisp
by R.J. Anderson
When Coco Crisp stepped to the plate last season, his walk-up song was “Who Gon Stop Me." The chorus served as a legitimate question once Crisp reached base. Not many have showed the ability to stop Crisp in recent seasons. He went 39-for-43 on stolen base attempts in 2012, pushing his three-year total to 120 steals in 136 attempts. That’s an 88 percent success rate on 45 attempts per season. None of the six other players with at least 45 attempts since 2010 succeeded more than 83 percent of the time. Rickey Henderson never had a three-year rate of more than 86 percent throughout his career.
The highest levels of baseball performance tend to have impressive streaks built in. Crisp’s basestealing in recent years has two worth noting. From July 10, 2011, until June 21, 2012, Crisp stole 36 consecutive bases without failure. Ignore pickoffs and Crisp’s streak creeps into August 2012 and encompasses another 15 steals. (The only catcher to stop Crisp in 2012 was Jose Lobaton.) Those high levels of performance leave us bewildered and curious. How is it that Crisp—who had a career 74 percent success rate prior to 2010—has turned into the league’s most efficient and prolific thief? Is it with Billy Hamilton-like speed, or Henderson-like wits and hubris*, or something else?
I watched each of Crisp’s stolen base attempts in 2012 in an effort to find out. My initial plan was to write descriptions of each attempt while timing the pitcher and catcher, then to assign blame to the slow one in the battery. Yet by the time I finished reviewing Crisp’s final 10 stolen bases on the year (I worked backward), it was clear that the catcher was rarely at fault. Opposing backstops managed throws on just three of those final 10 steals, leaving Crisp to swipe seven bags without a challenge. On the season, Crisp stole 20 of his 39 bases without a throw, including four double-steal situations.
As part of the review process, I kept track of a few variables along with the throw. Most notably, I reported the trigger on each attempt. If Crisp took off before the pitcher started his delivery, it was typically after a glance or two, so I recorded it as Crisp running on the look. If the pitcher had begun his delivery by the time Crisp took off, then it went down as Crisp running on the move. Here are the results in full:
''A sport without black people ain't a sport. That's just a game!... That's like me saying, 'Ooh, I got the highest SAT score in the whole world, but no Asians took the test.' What kind of crap is that? 'I just won the marathon. No Kenyans could run, though!'''
Vince Coleman's first 3 years in bigs (1985-1987) his SB/CS numbers were: 110/25, 107/14, 109/22. That's 84% success, and he ended up at 81% (752/177) for his career. He was amazing fast! I was at the game when he notched his 50th straight steal without being caught. Led the NL in SB the first 6 years of his career (also led in CS 3 of his first 4 years). Smartest base stealer? No clue, but he was certainly an amazing one for quite a while.
Last edited by Herr28; 01-09-2013 at 11:46 AM. Reason: 6 years not 7
"It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Dizzy Dean