Vince Coleman was certainly special. He would beat out a grounder then, on base, everyone was sure he was going to steal. He would lean back toward 1B to help avoid being thrown out by the pitcher then take off to 2B. After stealing 2B, he was off to 3B. He scored so many runs in innings the Cards had no hits, just a couple of groundouts or fly outs and scored from 1B on routine singles because he was off with the pitch. Others I remember were Willie Wilson and Kirk Gibson.
Pete Rose was smart. He would take a base on any situation and then distract the fielders in order for his teammates to take that extra base or score. How many TV shotss do you see Pete Rose on base waiving to his teamamtes to take that extra base? All of them! Rose was exceptional.
Jackie Robinson was fast and daring. He was a running back in college and big for a baseball player. He intimidated defenders because he wasn't afraid to crash violently into unsuspecting or suspecting baseman waiting to tag him.
Ty Cobb is a legend and has to be considered the greatest base runner. He is documented for making outs on the base when it might not be as important just to set up the fielder into making an error on the next time Cobb was on base. Every run mattered in Cobb's time and he wanted his team to be the one who scored it, one way or another. He was possesed. All players round a bag wide whentaking multiple bases. Not Cobb. I read that he had a tecnique where he would push off the bag with his inner foot, pivoting straight toward the next bag in order to avoid rounding the bag. What most people don't know is that most of the famous photos are intended show this detail.
My opinion is that Billy Hamilton is the greatest base runner. The objective is to score runs and Hamilton is one of three players (Harry Stovey, George Gore) to score more runs than games played. His SB total is aided by the rules of the time but, he's sure to be among all time leaders regardless. Billy Hamilton established the prototype for a leadoff hitter forever with his ability to get on base, disrupt the defense, and score runs.
Last edited by HDH; 01-13-2008 at 05:05 PM.
In the 1920's, Harry Heilmann led the AL with a .364 average. In addition, he averaged 220 hits, 45 doubles, 12 triples, 16 homers, 110 runs, and 130 RBI.