Tuesday, September 22, 2015

To Catch a Thief

Recently I received a PWE from Jeremy, a reader of my blog and a trade partner.   What I found in the envelope was Jeremy's first ever historical collection.  As I look through the cards, I noted that there was a stack of about ten different cards of catchers.  I didn't have a clue about the historical content of the package. 
In an email received later from Jeremy, he reported that the catchers were part of his special historical collection.  He had researched the catchers who Rickey Henderson stole the most bases on, and he found cards of those catchers he most frequently stole on. 
The Thief
Topps 2000 Rickey Henderson 20th Century Best Card #233
Rickey Henderson, regarded as the baseball's greatest leadoff hitter and base stealer, played for nine Major League nine teams from 1979 to 2003, including four stints with the A's. Henderson holds the major league records for career stolen bases, runs, unintentional walks, and leadoff home runs. 
In 1990, while playing for the A's, Henderson was named the American League Most Valuable Player. He was the leadoff batter for two World Series champions, the 1989 A's and the 1993 Blue Jays. He was 12-time American League stolen base champion, and lead the American League in runs scored five times. Henderson was also a ten-time All-Star and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2009, on his first ballot appearance.
Henderson holds the single-season record for stolen bases (130 in 1982) and is the only player in American League history to steal 100 bases in a season, having done that three times. His 1,406 career steals is 50% higher than the previous record of 938 held by Cardinal outfielder, Lou Brock.
Catch me if you can
In our trade, Jeremy sent me cards of those catchers who Henderson stole the most bases on.  He found cards of the top ten catchers who Henderson stole on and he was able to find a card of each of them in their catchers gear.
The list of those Henderson pilfered includes:
1.  Jim Sundberg (54 times) 
1982 Donruss Jim Sundberg Card #268
Sundberg ranks 3rd with catchers who caught Henderson the most (13 times).
2.  Ernie Whitt (48 times) 
1989 Upper Deck Ernie Whitt Card #118
Whitt ranks 5th with catchers who caught Henderson the most (10 times).
3.  Carlton Fisk (43 times)
1988 Donruss Carlton Fisk Card #260
Fisk ranks 4th with catchers who caught Henderson the most (11 times).
Tied for 4th. Butch Wynegar (37 times) 
Topps 1980 Butch Wynegar Card #304
Wynegar is tied for 7th with catchers who caught Henderson the most (7 times).
Tied for 4th.  Rick Dempsey (37 times)  
Topps 1983 Rick Dempsey Card #138
Dempsey is tied for 7th with catchers who caught Henderson the most (7 times).
Tied for 6th.  Brian Harper (36 times)
Leaf 1992 Brian Harper Card #131

 Tied for 6th.  Lance Parrish (36 times) 
Topps 1987 Lance Parrish Card #791
Parrish ranks 1st with catchers who caught Henderson the most (17 times).
8.  Rich Gedman (33 times)
1988 Fleer Rich Gedman #353
Gedman ranks 6th with catchers who caught Henderson the most (11 times).
9.  John Wathan  (32 times)
Topps 1983 John Wathan 1982 Record Breaker Card #6
This card of Wathan is celebrating his record breaking season of the stolen base standard for catchers, when he stole 31 bases in 1982.  He broke the record of 30 steals established in 1916 by White Sox's backstop Ray Schalk.  Wathan record still stands today.
10. Ron Hassey (29 times)
Topps 1991 Ron Hassey Card #327

Hassey was Henderson's teammate with the A's when they won three consecutive American League Pennants (1988 - 1990) and on the 1989 World Championship team.
For his career, Henderson attempted to steal on more than 240 different catchers.

Here is a link to an article about those catchers Henderson attempted to steal on.

Catchers Rickey Henderson attempted to steal on

1 comment:

  1. Great article! Your research department is unmatched! Happy to have a part in it, however it didnt come close to matching the epicness your trade pack did. Thanks again!