Lilly Earns Spot on Stolen Base Chart

Ted Lilly stole second against the Colorado Rockies on June 12th, joining a select group of 10 Dodgers pitchers who had displayed an inclination toward thievery in the 50+ years the club has been in Los Angeles. Although it was the 17th base stolen by an L.A. pitcher, there are only 12 names on the short list.

The singled in the third inning and with rookie Dee Gordon at bat, he stole second. The last Dodgers pitcher to pull off a steal was Randy Wolf who pilfered the first base of his career, this coming against Atlanta in 2009. Derek Lowe swiped one in 2006 and Lilly's was the second since then.

Lilly (5-5)received the win, working five innings and allowing four hits and one run.

"I knew I could take that base and gambled on it," Wolf said at the time. "It's my first one of my career. It took me over 10 years to do it, but it was fun, having never stolen a base before. I know I'm right behind Rickey Henderson now."

L.A. Stolen Base Records
The Los Angeles single season record was set by Orel Hershiser who had two in 1987. He had single steals in 1986, 1991 and 1993. The other five players -- Pete Richert, Claude Osteen, Jim Brewer, Don Sutton and Rick Honeycutt, have one each.

Richert swiped the Los Angeles Dodgers first base in 1964 and Osteen nabbed the next one in 1966. Brewer and Sutton both had a steal in 1970, the only time that two Los Angeles pitchers stole a base in the same season, and Honeycutt stole his in 1984.

   All-time single season records—
4 - Joe McGinnity, 1900
4 - Oscar Jones, 1904
3 - Doc Newton, 1902
3 - Henry Schmidt, 1903
3 - Clarence Mitchell, 1921

 Two each—Cy Barger, Larry Cheney, Burleigh 
Grimes (four times), Orel Hershiser, Bill 
Kennedy, Frank Kitson, Vic Lombardi, Harry 
McIntire, Erv Palica, Jeff Pfeffer, Doc Scanlon, 
Elmer Stricklett.
Career Records
Hershiser, Valdes and Darren Dreifort are the only Los Angeles pitchers to break into the career section of the records with more than a single steal.

Orel is second on the all-time career list with five, behind Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes, who played from 1918-1926 and stole 11 during his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Records for the early years are somewhat obscure, with pitcher often playing another position between starts. For example, in 1902 Bill Donovan stole seven bases but he also played eight games at first base,four in the outfield and two at second base. It is impossible at this time to determine if any of his stolen bases came when he wasn't pitching so the entire total has been omitted.

The following steals are have been accredited only to players who only pitched.

 All-Time Career Totals
11 - Burleigh Grimes
 5 - Orel Hershiser [LA record]
 4 - Joe McGinnity
 4 - Oscar Jones
 Three each—Cy Barger, Jack Dunn, Bill Kennedy, 
Rube Marquard, Clarence Mitchell, Doc Newton, 
Jeff Pfeffer, Doc Scanlon, Henry Schmidt, Sherry 
Smith, Elmer Stricklett, Ismael Valdes. 
 Two each—Leon Cadore, Larry Cheney, Jack Combs, 
Darren Dreifort, Joe Hatten, Jim Hughes, Frank 
Kitson, Vic Lombardi, Max Macon, Don Newcombe, 
Erv Palica.

 Los Angeles Career Totals
5 - Orel Hershiser
3 - Ismael Valdez
2 - Darren Dreifort
 One each- Jim Brewer, Rick Honeycutt, 
Ted Lilly Claude Osteen, Pete Reichert, 
Don Sutton  and Randy Wolf.
World Series Steal
Billy Loes, who always marched to a different drummer, is the only Dodger to steal a base in the World Series. It came in the sixth game of the 1952 series against the Yankees. After the game he said, "I saw [Charlie] Dressen [the Dodgers' manager] give Billy Cox the hit sign and I figured I'd go." After the game, Dressen told the writers, "I gave Cox the take sign and Loes must have thought the count was 3 and 2." It was the first steal by a pitcher in a World Series game since (appropriately enough) and other free spirit, Dizzy Dean in 1934.

In Their Own Words
In 1984, we sent a letter to all of the living Dodgers pitchers who has stolen a base. Five of the six answered that they just couldn't remember stealing a base.

Rick Honeycutt had no problem recalling the event.

"The game you are talking about was in Atlanta and in about the fourth or fifth inning. I got a base hit and the count was 3-1 on Steve Sax. Some thought Sax had missed a hit and run, and I thought it was, too, but I found out later it was a straight steal and Steve had the option to swing or not." He did swing, missed the ball and Honeycutt joined the short list of pitchers with a stolen base to their credit.

Max Macon wrote, "Sorry I don't remember the steal. I know could run. When I joined Boston in 1944 as an outfielder, I stole five or six straight and they then found out I would run and stopped that for me."

John Babich stole his base in 1935. He wrote: "I can't remember the stolen base. I played under Casey Stengel and he didn't allow pitchers to even swing unless they were a good hitter. I remember he made a pitcher got up and take three strikes, just to stay off the bases. He always said, 'You do the pitching, we've got the hitters.' Since we played all day games, it was hot and that's why we stayed off the bases."

Fred Frankhouse, who stole a base in 1937, wrote: "Sorry, I do not remember. I am 80 years old and my memory is not so hot any more."

Les Webber's steal came in 1945. "I was interested to hear about the pitchers who stole bases. I had completely forgotten, although the sports pages are what I read first. I can sure remember hitting a home run, but my memory is a little vague on the steal."

And Jim Brewer, who nipped a base in 1970: "I don't remember stealing a base. Must have just been my blazing speed."

Stealing Home
Dreifort was only the fifth pitcher in the history of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles franchise to steal home when he accomplished the rare feat in 2001.

It was Dreifort's second career steal, the first coming in 1999. Dreifort earned his stolen base on May 1, 1999. He combined with Tom Goodwin on a double steal on June 2, 2001, Dreifort sealing home and Goodwin second base in s 4-3 win against the Texas Rangers.

The other four daring pitchers to steal home were all from the Brooklyn era and included Sherry Smith (April 19, 1916) and Dutch Ruether (May 4, 1921) who both stole home against the Giants.

Smith stole home on a double steal with Jake Daubert on first, a wild throw to second helping the cause. It gave Brooklyn a 2-0 lead and Sherry pitched an 11-hit complete game, winning 7-3.

Ruether tripled earlier in the game and was left stranded, so in the fifth he singled in a run to break a 0-0 tie and moved to third on an error on Ivy Olson's fly ball. On a double steal, Ruether was safe when the Giants second baseman Frankie Frisch returned the ball too late at the plate.

In 1946, Joe Hatten relieved Ralph Branca in the third inning and went the rest of the way in a 16-6 win over the Pirates. He combined on a double steal with Pee Wee Reese. In a letter to Dodgers Dugout in 1984 he pointed out that he broke for the plate and Reese took off for second on the play. Billy Cox (playing with the Pirates at that time) cut the ball off and threw it well over the catcher's head, Hatten scoring easily.

Reese rounded second and headed for third but stumbled and was "a cooked goose" Hatten wrote. "But the throw to third went well into left field and Reese scored easily. Really was a circus out there."

Don Newcombe became the only pitcher to steal home who was not involved in a double steal attempt. The big righthander tripled against the Pirates in 1955, in his words, "Walt Alston had the squeeze when I broke for home but it was a busted play and the pitcher [ElRoy Face] was so surprised he threw wide of the plate." Newk rumbled across with the run and a rare steal of home.