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Taking It's Stole

I've been wanting to write an ode to the stolen base for the last week or so, since the Mets have been thefting with such regularity recently, and today seems like a good time to do so. (Cap-tip, as per usual, to Baseball-Reference.com). The Mets had a franchise-record tying stolen base streak snapped at 11 games with Monday's loss to the Phillies.

Those who have read my previous tributes to the walk, the double, the slow Met, and to the ball which you can't tell is fair or foul ("chalk-off"), will hopefully garner an appreciation from some of these nuggets.

* Jose Reyes holds the Mets record for steals in a season with 71 (and counting). Mookie Wilson's club record of 281 figures to go down next season.

* The most steals by a Met in a season without getting caught is 21, by Kevin McReynolds in 1988. Manny Alexander's 11 in 1997 rank second. In fact, Manny holds the Mets career mark for steals without getting caught, with 11.

* Vince Coleman and Roger Cedeno share the club record for steals in a game with 4, and I'm not particularly fond of either, so I have nothing more to say about that. But 14 different Mets have had at least three steals in a game (Jose Reyes has done it the most, 6 times). There's only one odd name on that list: Tim Harkness, who had 3 of his 7 career stolen bases in a 6-3 win over the Phillies on September 9, 1963 .

* The first stolen base in Mets history was by Richie Ashburn, in the Mets 12th game of the 1962 season, on April 25, against the Reds.

* W-L records when certain players stole a base

Mookie Wilson: 145-104

Vince Coleman: 27-50

Just saying...

* The 2007 Mets set the club record for steals, with 169 and counting. That broke the mark of 157 previously set by the 1987 squad. The fewest steals in a non-strike season is 27, surprisingly by the 1973 NL East champion Mets.

* The 2007 Mets have succeeded on an astounding 82.8% of their steal attempts, which could be the best mark in club history (the 2004 team succeeded 82.3% of the time). Amazingly, three Mets teams were successful less than half the time- 1963 (41 for 93), 1965 (28 for 70) and 1994 (25 for 51)

* If you want to guarantee yourself a Mets victory, attend a game in which a pitcher steals a base. The Mets haven't lost a game in which a pitcher stole a base since 1970. They've won the last 11 games in which the pitcher has pilfered, including the three most recent by Orlando Hernandez. I am somewhat chagrined to report that the Mets have never had a pitcher steal a base in a walk-off win, but that seems like a forgiveable offense.

* On the subject of Mets pitcher's stolen bases, here's a great potential AFLAC trivia question...Only two Mets starting pitchers have stolen a base and combined on a shutout in the same game. One is Orlando Hernandez. Who's the other? Kudos, if you knew it was Sid Fernandez, who stole a base and pitched eight shutout innings in an 8-0 win over the Phillies on April 20, 1986.

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