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Thursday, January 14, 2021

After 17 pickoff throws, he still stole second

It was June 1, 1986, and it was a big day for Reds starter Chris Welsh.

The 31-year-old was making his debut for Cincinnati—the hometown team he grew up cheering for—and he was excited.

“Yeah, I had my family and my friends there,” Welsh, now a Reds broadcaster and author, tells “I remember it as clear as you can look back from now to 1986.”

But right away, the lefty got himself into trouble: He walked Vince Coleman.

The reigning NL Rookie of the Year was the fastest man on the planet and 1985’s stolen base king. He’d once been clocked at a blistering 31.6 feet/second. He’d swipe close to 550 bags in his first six big league seasons. He was not a guy you wanted anywhere near the basepaths.

“You knew when he was on base, his number one goal was to steal. Period,” Welsh says.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 14, 2021 at 09:29 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: vince coleman

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   1. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: January 14, 2021 at 10:06 AM (#5999694)
I'm not a big fan of over the top celebrations and whatnot but if a guy steals second after 17 pick off throws I think he has every right to pull the base out of the ground and flip it Jose Bautista style.
   2. Mefisto Posted: January 14, 2021 at 10:44 AM (#5999709)
I was at a Giants/Dodgers game once in LA with Marichal pitching. The crowd hated him, of course, and started booing when he was warming up. He walked Wills, leading off, to start the game. Then he threw over to first 9 times in a row without throwing a pitch. After each throw to first, the boos and abuse got even louder (hardly seemed possible). By the ninth throw it was insane. But on the ninth throw he picked Wills off and the crowd went dead silent. They stayed that way for the rest of the game.
   3. salvomania Posted: January 14, 2021 at 12:48 PM (#5999742)
I was at a Giants/Dodgers game once in LA with Marichal pitching.

I wonder if it was this game: Wills led off the bottom of the 1st with a single (not a walk), and then Marichal picked him off, then ended up pitching a complete-game shutout.
   4. Mefisto Posted: January 14, 2021 at 02:00 PM (#5999753)
No, it was in, I think, 1970 after Wills returned to the Dodgers from Montreal.

ETA: I'm babysitting a 1 year old, so I can't search for it right now.
   5. Lassus Posted: January 14, 2021 at 02:54 PM (#5999760)
That would be a better story if you were babysitting a 1-year-old and took them to the Marichal game.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: January 14, 2021 at 04:18 PM (#5999782)
You LIE LIE LIE!! :-)

I didn't find anything that matched in the games from 69 on. Closest was this game where Wills led off with a single followed by a GDP, Marichal then cruising to a 3-0 win. I might have missed a game or maybe it happened after the 1st inning.

Wills was picked off 9 times in his 2nd Dodgers stint but I don't know how to find the games ... and of course it might have been a pickoff where he took off for 2nd and recorded as a CS.
   7. Mefisto Posted: January 14, 2021 at 04:23 PM (#5999783)
I believe it would have been recorded as a CS.
   8. Mefisto Posted: January 14, 2021 at 04:30 PM (#5999784)
It was probably this game:

The pickoff came in the 4th, not the first, and is recorded as a pickoff. The game otherwise fits my memory.
   9. AndrewJ Posted: January 14, 2021 at 04:57 PM (#5999796)
I still agree with Bill James, who said that the pitcher should get only two pickoff attempts. After a third, the runner is automatically awarded the next base.
   10. salvomania Posted: January 14, 2021 at 05:05 PM (#5999798)
After a third, the runner is automatically awarded the next base.

So after two pick-off throws, the baserunner can take a 30-foot lead?
   11. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: January 14, 2021 at 06:26 PM (#5999811)
More like a 90-foot lead, unless I'm missing something.
   12. FrankM Posted: January 14, 2021 at 07:02 PM (#5999818)
No, the pitcher can throw over a third time, but if he doesn't get the runner, the runner is awarded second.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 14, 2021 at 07:29 PM (#5999825)
I thought James' proposal was that an unsuccessful pickoff throw, after the second time, would result in a ball on the batter. I think that's a great idea.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2021 at 12:10 AM (#5999878)
As is often the case, the (likely rare) problem solved by an extreme, wacky change to the rules took care of itself by the supposed source of the problem (i.e. the SB) disappearing all on its own.

Now onto any pitch over 93 MPH or that breaks more than 2.37 inches resulting in a ball and all HRs after the first two for a team are foul balls. (Certainly Ks are not gonna disappear on their own.)
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: January 15, 2021 at 12:25 AM (#5999882)
I've hated any pickoff throw limits proposed, which seemed like terrible gimmicks to solve a non-problem. And I thought that before becoming the father of a pitcher who was really good at holding on runners.

   16. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: January 15, 2021 at 10:17 AM (#5999905)
No, the pitcher can throw over a third time, but if he doesn't get the runner, the runner is awarded second.

Ah, yes. Moral of the story: Do not post while reeling from exhaustion after having to be up & about ungodly early for a routine (I thought -- the EKG & chest X-ray sort of came out of nowhere) doctor's visit.

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