One stolen base can lead to a big inning and help a team win a baseball game. Stealing six bases makes history.
Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays stole six bases on Sunday, helping his team beat the Boston Red Sox 5-3. In the game, Crawford stole second base five times and stole third once. He also had four hits and scored two runs.
Only three other players since 1900 have stolen six bases in one game. Eric Young did it in 1996 for the Colorado Rockies, Otis Nixon did it in 1991 for the Atlanta Braves and Eddie Collins did it twice for the old Philadelphia Athletics way back in 1912. No player has ever stolen seven bases in a game.
Crawford's accomplishment shows how important speed is in baseball. When you watch highlights from baseball games, they usually show home runs and big hits. But speed can be just as important as power. Even when he wasn't stealing bases on Sunday, Crawford was using his speed to help Tampa Bay win the game. He had two infield hits, meaning that he hit a groundball and was fast enough to get to first base before the Boston infielders could field the ball and throw him out.
Many times, simply having a fast runner on base helps a team. When a player like Crawford is on first base, the opposing pitcher gets worried that he will steal second. Often, the pitcher will concentrate on the runner on first base, instead of thinking about what pitch to throw the batter. When this happens, the pitcher can make a mistake and throw a pitch that the batter can easily hit. Having a fast runner on base may also make the fielders make mistakes. If fielders know that they have to hurry up to make a play, they might rush the play and make an error.
One of the fastest players ever to play baseball was Rickey Henderson. Recently elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Henderson stole 1,406 bases, the all-time record. He also has scored the most runs in baseball history with 2,295. Henderson's career is a good example of how speed can lead to runs.
Crawford's game on Sunday is another great example. His two infield hits and six stolen bases are the main reasons why the Rays were able to beat the Red Sox.
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