For my first installment, I would like to talk about Houston Astros' rookie shortstop Jonathan Villar's steal of home last week against the Baltimore Orioles. I was pretty amazed as how easily he stole home. Of course, it was aided by the lack of focus by the Oriole pitcher. Regardless, a straight steal of home where the throw at home hit the baserunner on the back of the head when sliding feet first is pretty phenomenal.
Here is the play:
It got me thinking of stealing of homeplate in general - records, etc. Probably the most famous steal of home in MLB in history is Jackie Robinson in Game 1 of 1955 World Series vs New York Yankees. If you ask Yankee catcher Yogi Berra today, he would still say that Robinson was out.
In terms of record holders, Ty Cobb has the all time record with 54 steals of home. For the season, Cobb holds the AL record with 8 in 1912 and Pete Reiser has the NL mark with 7 in 1946. For a game, stealing twice has been done 11 times, most recently by Vic Power of Cleveland in 1958.
One thing of note in terms of stolen bases in the record books. A lot of the high marks in stolen bases are held by players from the deadball era(Pre-1920). This is the time where home runs were much more rare than now and because of it, more emphasis was placed on stolen bases, bunts, etc. Also, stolen base was not an official statistic back then and there have been several rule changes in terms of scorekeeping during this time.
For players who played since World War II, the all time leader of stolen bases to home is Jackie Robinson with 19. Followed by Rod Carew with 17 and Paul Molitor with 10.