SABR

Mays best percentage stealer in NL in 1971

By L. Robert Davids

This article was published in the 1972 Baseball Research Journal.

It's hard to believe but the ML official averages show that 40-year old Willie Mays had the beat base stealing percentage in 1971. He was thrown out only 3 times in 26 tries.

This marks the fifth tine that Mays has led his league in this department since the ML started "caught stealing" records on a regular basis in 1951. Previously they had done it 1920-25, and then stopped. The AL has done it almost continuously since 1920.

As can be noted from the listing below, the league leader in total thefts frequently does not have the best percentage. An asterisk indicates when the percentage leader also led in thefts. The beat percentage in the last 21 years was compiled by Amos Otis of Kansas City in 1970 when he was nabbed only twice in 35 attempts. Bobby Bonds of the Giants was caught only 4 times in 49 attempts in 1969.

The percentage leaders, based on 20 attempts for the 154-game schedule and 21 attempts for 162 games are carried below for each year since 1951.

 

Year A.L. Leader SB CS N.L. Leader SB CS
1951 Phil Rizzuto 18 3 Sam Jethroe *35 5
1952 Jackie Jensen 18 6 Peewee Reese *30 5
1953 Jackie Jensen 18 8 Jackie Robinson 17 4
1954 Forrest Jacobs 17 3 Dee Fondy 20 5
1955 Minnie Minoso 19 8 Willie Mays 24 4
1956 Luis Aparicio *21 4 Willie Mays *40 l0
1957 Jim Rivera 18 2 John Temple 19 5
1958 Jim Rivera 21 3 Willie Mays *31 6
1959 Mickey Mantle 21 3 Willie Mays *27 4
1960 Luis Aparicio *51 8 Julian Javier 19 4
1961 Chuck Hinton 22 5 Frank Robinson 22 3
1962 Dick Howaer 19 2 Maury Wills *104 l3
1963 Luis Aparicio *40 6 Henry Aaron 31 5
1964 Luia Aparicio *57 17 Tommy Harper 24 3
1965 Z. Versalles 27 5 Jimmy Wynn 43 4
1966 B. Campaneria *52 l0 Henry Aaron 21 3
1967 Horace Clarke 21 4 Joe Morgan 29 5
1968 Tommy McCraw 20 5 Henry Aaron 28 5
1969 B. Campaneris 62 8 Bobby Bonds 45 4
1970 Amos Otis 33 2 Ken Henderson 20 3
1971 Tommy Harper 25 3 Willie Mays 23 3

 

(Editor's note: An updated list of year-by-year SB% leaders can be found at Baseball-Reference.com by clicking here.)

 

This article originally appeared in the 1972 "Baseball Research Journal."

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