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Stolen base
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Stolen base

In baseball statistics, stolen bases (denoted by SB) is a count of the number of bases successfully stolen by a player. In the 19th century, stolen bases were credited when a baserunner reached an extra base on a base hit from another player. For example if a runner on first base reached third base on a single, it would count as a steal. A scottish born outfielder named Hugh Nicol was once credited with 138 of these in one year. Modern steal rules were implemented in 1898, and steals are now only credited when a runner successfully attempts to takes an extra base while the ball is being pitched.

Rickey Henderson is the most prolific base stealer in Major League Baseball, with 1,403 over his career. That total is 465 more than second place Lou Brock and, as of the end of the 2003 season, an astonishing 868 more than the next highest active player Kenny Lofton. He also holds the modern record for steals in one season with 130.

First base can be "stolen" if the catcher drops the ball after a third strike. The last recorded instance of a player stealing first base during a conventional pitch occurred on September 4, 1908, by Detroit's Herman Schaefer in a game against Cleveland. Schaefer was on second base and his teammate Davy Jones was on third, and in an attempt to draw a throw that would permit Jones to safely steal home Schaefer bolted for first base. Cleveland's catcher didn't fall for the trick and held the ball, allowing Jones to steal first base. This tactic of reverse-stealing has since been outlawed.