Rays #3 Moment of 2009: “Carl Crawford- Master Theft”

 


When I was a kid it was pressed upon us at a young age that you should not take things that were not yours. And it was not right to try and deceive or fake your way into getting things under false pretenses. But in the game of baseball, the art of stealing bases is not only legal, its is a right of passage. For if you can gain the speed, the quick jump, and possess the right angles to slide in safely into the bag, you are a valuable weapon in your team’s arsenal.

And for this reason, the stolen base has been considered an art form in the game of baseball. Some can get extra bases because of simple pitching mistakes, but the rare few can also use their minds, bodies and their gazelle-like speed to transfer the game into another dimension. And that is why my Number #3 Rays Moment of 2009 has to be the base stealing display put on by Carl Crawford on May 3,2009.

And for years, the Tampa Bay Rays have had one of the Major League’s best at this art form. Carl Crawford has always been known for his quick speed out of the batters’ box to first base, but he truly holds court between the base paths in the American League.  And if you have the pleasure to watch him do it game after game, you are watching someone who has not only given his team an instant advantage, but someone who take the chaos of his wild swinging arms and legs flailing as he runs,  and combine the action with his tongue just outside his lower lip to bring a unison of movement while stealing a base. 

He is considered to be a tick faster then Stolen Base King and Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, and to see him run from first to third on a play, you would be banking on him falling. But rarely does he make a mistake running on the base paths, and even stole 30 straight bases this season before finally being caught stealing second base.

..

But on May 3, 2009, not only did Crawford tie the modern day record for stolen bases in a game with 6 stolen bases on the day, he also went 4 for 4 with a walk to set up his record tying feat.  Proving once again that he is a deadly offensive weapon for the Rays. Only 4 players had equaled that feat since the 1900’s, and now Crawford’s name would be remembered among them.

Crawford sent the spikes he used that day to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York at their request. So if you get a chance to go to the museum this off season, you will be able to see the footwear he wore during that game against the rival Red Sox.  Also during that game he became the first major leaguer in 97 years to have 6 steals and 4 or more hits in a game.  The last one to post that feat was Eddie Collins on the 1912 Philadelphia Athletics.

At that point in the season he was already the fourth best All Time in steals with 391 stolen bases in 383 attempts (83.3 percent rate).  His 83.3 rate ties him with former Royal  great Willie Wilson for the all time AL mark. And he is still young. Considering he is not even near his 30th birthday and he just might set a few more records before all is said and done in his career.


Mike Carlson / AP


I have to tell you, I was in the stadium on that day, and I was probably as nervous as everyone else wondering if he was going to try and steal a seventh base that night. With Evan Longoria at the plate you ached and arched your back with every pitch wondering if he was again going to sprint off of first base and try and set a new record. But he never did.

And it was not learned until after the game that Crawford did not even know the importance of the event, or he might have tried for a seventh base. But that is the glitz and glamor of Crawford. He was thinking about the team first, and not thinking of personal gains or records for himself. And that makes him more valuable to this Rays team.

12 Comments

I believe one of the true signs of a class act is when they equal or break a major league record and don’t know they ‘ve done it… I am fairly sure it was Crawford who went 1st to 2nd on a single against the Phillies this year when Werth was caught being nonchalant about a routine ground ball to right field… Crawford is definately one of the greats at base stealing….
~peter
Outside the Phillies Looking In
http://devilabrit.mlblogs.com

Peter,
I know when I look at him and B J upton play, I might be seeing the fastest outfield in baseball.
They have different skill sets for base running and outfield, but it is a pleasure to watch both of them play.
C C will someday be in the Hall of Fame if he stays healthy.
He might actually be the first to wear the Rays logo into that honored museum.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Not only is he a fast baserunner, he is one of the smartest in the game, too.
http://bronx-awesome.mlblogs.com/

Phenomenal athlete. He is very fun to watch, but not fun to face as an opponent. Very dangerous.
http://cleveland-baseball.blogspot.com/

Bronx,
He is one of those guys who actually watches video on pitchers.
Chris “Chico” Fernandez, the Rays Video Coordinator is one of the best at finding and picking out tell tale signs in wind-ups and side steps.
Because of the extra work, he has been amazing on the base paths.
He went over the 60 steals plateau for the first time in his career in 2009, which is hard to believe considering how long he has been considered a top flight base stealer.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Cleveland,
I would hate to be an opposing catcher knowing he is taking a 10 foot lead on first base and there is nothing I could do about it.
He is not even in his prime yet (only 29) and he will get better in the next few years.
That is a scary thought for the guys who sit behind the plate.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Always fun to watch those expert base stealers. Crawford is one of the best.
http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

Cat,
Watching the “cat and mouse” game within the game can be as much fun as seeing a ball go deep over the wall.
Expertise in this realm of the game hinges on speed, deception and a little bit of mischief.
He is one of the best, and I enjoy watching him play the game with his own style and grace.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I watched this game. In awe. He was awesome at the plate and better on the bases. I was also wondering if he was aware of his accomplishment.. obviously not. Eddie Collins! What a player to be linked to!

Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

Buz,
Eric Young was the last player to complete the task when he was with the Colorado Rockies.
I was also a bit in awe when I saw he was sharing the record With Eddie Collins.
Just proves he might be this generations premier base stealer if nothing happen to him.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I remember the guy that has Crawford in my fantasy pool, bragging about Crawford’s day after that game. SB’s are few and far between in fantasy. Six in one game pretty much guarenteed him ‘winning the week’ in that catergory.
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

Homer,
I had Crawford, B J Upton, Scott Posednik, Matt Daiz and Jason Bartlett on my MLBlogs Fantasy team, and we led the League with 225 steals. Only one other team got near 200.
I looked at steals as a way to pick up a point during the week and keep from losing…………and it worked for mr.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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