Birds Stealing Like It’s 1973

Once upon a time, O’s played for more than the 3-run HR

By Christopher Heun

Besides Corey Patterson, how do the Orioles as a team measure up on the basepaths? They’re not the 1987 Cardinals (who stole 248 bases), but they’re swift by Baltimore standards.

This year, with 81 steals through 94 games, the Birds are on pace for 140, which would fall just short of the team record. They do have a chance to lead the league, though. They’re just one behind the leader, the Angels, and four ahead of the Yankees.

Most important, as a team they’re 81 for 97 in steal attempts, a success rate of 83.5 percent.

The 1976 Orioles stole 150 bases, which still stands as the team record for a single season. Al Bumbry led the team with 42 steals, with Reggie Jackson adding 28, Mark Belanger 27, Paul Blair 15 and Bobby Grich 14.

Overall, the O’s were caught 61 times in 211 attempts that season, a 71 percent success rate. The 150 steals ranked fourth in the American League.

It’s curious that a team managed by the world’s biggest fan of the three-run homer, Earl Weaver, would run so much.

But it wasn’t unusual. In 1973, the O’s led the league with 145 steals. It was the same cast of players, with one exception. Reggie wasn’t with the team, replaced by Rich Coggins and Don Baylor.

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About mptaylor11

Roar from 34, a Baltimore Orioles Blog. Humor. History. Homerism. Since 2006.
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