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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

How rare is a stolen base by a Cardinals pitcher?

In the second inning of Thursday’s St. Louis Cardinals game, the club had two stolen bases. The first bag wasn’t much of a surprise, as it was swiped by Tyler Greene. After all, the infielder led the club in 2011 with 11.

Two batters later, however, both Pittsburgh pitcher Erik Bedard and catcher Mike McKenry had to be stunned with Cardinals hurler Jake Westbrook took second base for a stolen base of his own.

It was the 34-year-old Westbrook’s first career steal. It wasn’t all that unusual as the pitcher has spent most of his 12 MLB seasons in the American League. Westbrook had only 117 career plate appearances prior to Thursday.

Westbrook logged the Cardinals first stolen base by a pitcher in over three seasons – since Joel Pineiro did it back on April 15, 2009.

With the help of researcher Tom Orf, we learn that since at least 1930, the Cardinals have a total of just 64 stolen bases by pitchers, with never more than one in a game.

Not surprisingly, arguably the best athlete to play the position for St. Louis is both the club’s single-season and career stolen base leader – Bob Gibson.

Gibby also has two of the top three seasons and three of the best eight. 1968 may have been known as the “Year of the Pitcher,” but the next season was Gibson’s “Year of the Stolen Base.” He logged five of his career 13 that year.

Stolen bases by a pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals, single season since 1930

5 Bob Gibson 1969
3 Gibson 1966 Joaquin Andujar 1985
2 Gibson 1965 Andujar 1983 Al Jackson 1966 Harvey Haddix 1954 Dizzy Dean 1935

Stolen bases by a pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals, career since 1930

13 Gibson 1959-75
7 Andujar 1981-85
4 D. Dean 1930-37
3 Bob Forsch 1974-88 John Denny 1974-79 Haddix 1952-56

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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14 Responses to “How rare is a stolen base by a Cardinals pitcher?”

  1. crdswmn says:

    Yeah, that was fun to see. Not much else about this game was.

  2. blingboy says:

    Which was never caught stealing in his career, with the Cards or anyone else? Dean doesn’t count since CS records don’t really exist prior to 1941. (Unless someone knows).

  3. blingboy says:

    Probably been awhile since the Cards struck out 17 times.

  4. WesPowell says:

    Two items following todays loss, the first specific to today and the second just in general……..

    1.) We took 2 of 3. That’s good enough in any series against anyone, even at home.

    2.) Over the last 75 games, going back to last year’s concluding 32 regular season games and the 18 post season games along with the first 25 games this year, we are 50-25. In those final 50 games of last season, 28 were against playoff teams in which we were 19-9, 11-5 on the road against playoff teams, including 5-1 at Milwaukee who was the best regular season home team in the majors at 57-24, and 5-2 at Philadelphia who was the second best home team in the majors at 52-29. In the total 75 games going back to last year the Cardinals have averaged 5.28 runs per game with a team pitching ERA of 3.27. The Cards have won 20 of the 22 series they have played in the 75 game stretch. And it all started after a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers, in Saint Louis, putting us 10 1/2 games out of the playoff race. It’s been simply breathtaking, even for a stat-nerd like me.

  5. WesPowell says:

    The only thing to add after the world championship and the first place start this year, which makes it even all the more amazing, is that last year Pujols did not play in 15 games, Berkman did not play in 17, Holliday did not play in 38, Schumaker did not play in 45, Freese did not play in 65, and Wainwright did not play in 162. With Berkman and Carpenter on the current DL.

    • blingboy says:

      Hopefully its not a case of last year’s team peaking late and this one peaking early. It will be interesting to see how we do against the winning teams coming up.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    Good job by Bedard to hold down the Birds, despite Robinson, Greene, and Craig in the lineup.

    It will be interesting to see what Jay averages this year. He was once forecast as a candidate to win a batting average crown. Jay could average .330+. Hes the real mccoy.

    • Kansasbirdman says:

      All those sacrifice bunt calls for Jay in the two spot in the first inning when furcal gets on will dip his average. He seems to be a team player who wouldn’t care about his average, and he executes the bunt very well.

      I still disagree with Mr. Matheny calling for bunt in those situations. Furcal is fast enough to get home from first on a decent hit (or could steal in many situations) and Jay is hitting really well right now. I say let Jay swing away.

      • blingboy says:

        A successful sac bunt does not count as an AB but an unsuccessful one does. So he can’t help his average by trying, but might hurt it if he’s unsuccessful.

        The rules for sac flies are different, I believe.

  7. JumboShrimp says:

    Dodgers are DFAing reliever Mike MacDougle. I am not a member of his fan club. He was awful when with the Cards, though not bad for the Dodgers last year.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Brendan Ryan has an OPS in the low 500s, lower even than Albert’s, not easy to achieve. Colby Rasmus is in the high 600s, miles lower than Jon Jay. IThe Dodgers are dumping the terrible McDougle reliever. ts as though a curse has befallen ex-Cardinals.
      I hope Albert can keep him morale up, during his slump and time of travail. We appreciated his loyal service to our team in the past and wish him all the best.

      • friendmouse says:

        I echo you sentiments and observations, Jumbo. One could almost make a point that players are generally much better players when they are Cardinal players. Probably because I have a lazy streak in me, but I wish I had my own personal “Tom Orf” to do research for me! 🙂 And kudos to WesPowell for his fine research. But what would be interesting would be to see how many players of note take a nose-dive once they become “ex-Cardinals” as opposed to those who break out and thrive once away from our favorite baseball club. Of course many fare about the same…Suppan, Brian Jordan, JD Drew are some who come to mind who do about the same regardless of whether they are Cardinals or not. But there do seem to be more examples like the aforementioned B-Ryan, C-Rasmus, A-Pujols, B-Wallace, R-Ludwick, et al, who’s performance takes a nose-dive away from Cardinals, than there are of the opposites…those who are better as “ex-Cardinals” like, perhaps D-Haren, C-Perez, S-Carlton (although these three “ex-Cardinals’ pitchers were good as Cardinals, too…just hadn’t peaked yet).
        Just idle ponderings, but fun and interesting.

  8. crdswmn says:

    Komatsu got picked up off waivers by the Twins.

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