Stolen base

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In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a baserunner successfully advances to the next base while the pitcher is delivering the ball to home plate. In baseball statistics, stolen bases are denoted by SB.

If the defense makes no attempt to put the baserunner out (for example, if the catcher doesn't even look his way), the play is scored as defensive indifference (also called fielder's indifference), and no stolen base is credited to the runner.[1] Defensive indifference is generally only scored instead of a stolen base when the game is in a late inning and the team with the stealing baserunner is down by more than one score. MLB Rule 10.07(g) covers defensive indifference.

Successful base-stealing requires not just simple running speed, but also good base-running instincts, quickness, and split-second timing. The scoring and criteria for awarding a stolen base to a runner are covered by rule 10.07 of the Major League Baseball rule book.[2]

Contents

Background

Ned Cuthbert, playing for the Philadelphia Keystones in either 1863 or 1865, is documented as the first baseball player to steal a base in a baseball game, although the term stolen base was not used until 1871.[3] For a time in the 19th century, stolen bases were credited when a baserunner reached an extra base on a base hit from another player.[4] For example if a runner on first base reached third base on a single, it would count as a steal. In 1887, Hugh Nicol set a still-standing Major League record with 138 stolen bases,[5] many of which would not have counted under modern rules.[4] Modern steal rules were fully implemented in 1898,[6] and steals are now only credited when a runner successfully takes an extra base while the ball is being pitched, but not already hit. If the ball is dead on the pitch run on, such as from a foul ball (except caught fly-out), the steal is not allowed and the runner returns to his time-of-pitch base. In addition, if the situation of the game is such that the steal is of little use (usually in the late innings when the runner would not change the game's outcome by scoring), and the catcher does not attempt to throw out the runner, the runner is not credited with a steal, and the base is attributed to defensive indifference.[7]

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