Stolen Bases as Extra Bases

This article was written by Stanley Fleming

This article was published in the 1977 Baseball Research Journal


When the lively ball era was launched in 1920 there were few players who displayed the combined ability of speed and power. If a player were to accumulate a lot of extra bases it would be with his bat and not his feet. Thus it was automatic that when we thought of extra bases it was in terms of doubles, triples and home runs.

In recent years, however, there has been a vast increase in stolen bases, a trend climaxed by the 341 thefts of the Oakland A’s in 1976.  And many of these steals are by players capable of hitting for extra bases, like Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, Bobby Bonds, Joe Morgan, and Cesar Cedeno.

With this situation, why don’t we bring ourselves to think more in terms of stolen bases as extra bases? When a player gets on first and then steals second, it is much like stretching a single into a double.  Why don’t we, therefore, add stolen bases to extra bases from hits-three for a homer, two for a triple, one for a double, and one for a stolen base? That would seem to be a more appropriate measure of extra-base strength, particularly for some one like Joe Morgan in comparison with Willie Stargell, who seldom steals a base.

The 1941 American League batting parade might serve as a good illustration. There was a close race in extra bases between Joe DiMaggio, who had a 56-game hitting streak, Ted Williams, who batted .406, and Jeff Heath, the only AL player in history to hit 20 or more doubles, triples, and homers in a season. This is how they wound up the season in extra bases:

 

Player Team 2B 3B HR SB XBH
Jeff Heath CLE 32 20 24 18 162
Joe DiMaggio NYY 43 11 30 4 159
Ted Williams BOS 33 3 37 2 152

 

Note that Heath is the leader counting steals as extra bases, but he would have lost out to both DiMaggio and Williams if the compilation had been limited just to long hits.

This does not mean that stolen bases affect the leadership that frequently. In fact, from 1920 to the 1950s it was pretty typical for the home run leader to dominate in extra bases. And why shouldn’t he, with three extra bases to one for a steal? Johnny Mize led in 1938 and 1939 without stealing a base either season. And even when Lou Brock had 118 stolen bases in 1974, he did not lead in extra bases.  Of course, that year, he was particularly deficient in long hits. On the other hand, Cesar Cedeno, who was not a home run leader that year, led largely because of his 57 stolen bases. The same thing happened in the National League in 1976 when Joe Morgan led largely on the strength of his 60 thefts.

Who had the most extra bases in a season? It was the man who had the most extra base hits, Babe Ruth, 1921. He also stole 17 bases that year, giving him a total of 270 extra bases. Lou Gehrig was next with 239 in  1927, including 10 stolen bases. Willie Mays had the highest NL total with 221 in 1955, thanks to 24 stolen bases. Chuck Klein, the only player of the lively ball era to lead his league in home runs and stolen bases the same season, had 214 in 1932.

The players leading in extra bases each year in each league are listed below. Asterisks indicate leadership in the categories that contribute to extra bases.

 

Extra Base Leaders (American League)

YEAR PLAYER TEAM 2B 3B HR SB XBH
1901 Nap Lajoie (1) Phil. 48* 13 14* 27 143
1902 Buck Freeman (1) Bost. 37 20 11 15 125
1903 Buck Freeman (2) Bost. 39 21 13* 4 124
1904 Nap Lajoie (2) Cle. 50* 14 6 31 127
1905 Harry Davis (1) Phil. 47* 6 8* 36 119
1906 Elmer Flick (1) Cle. 33 22* 1 39* 119
1907 Ty Cobb(1) Det. 29 15 5 49* 123
1908 Ty Cobb (2) Det. 36* 20* 4 39 127
1909 Ty Cobb(3) Det. 33 10 9 76* 156
1910 Ty Cobb(4) Det. 36 13 8 65 151
1911 Ty Cobb(5) Det. 47* 24* 8 83* 202
1912 Tris Speaker(1) Bost. 53* 12 10 52 159
1913 Tns Speaker (2) Bost. 35 22 3 46 134
1914 Tris Speaker (3) Bost. 46* 18 4 42 136
1915 Ty Cobb(6) Det. 31 13 3 96* 162
1916 Ty Cobb(7) Det. 31 10 5 68* 134
1917 Ty Cobb(8) Det. 44* 23* 7 55* 166
1918 George Sisler (1) St.L. 21 9 2 45* 90
1919 Babe Ruth(1) Bost. 34 12 29* 7 152
1920 Babe Ruth (2) N.Y. 36 9 54* 14 230
1921 Babe Ruth (3) N.Y. 44 16 59* 17 270
1922 Ken Williams (1) St.L. 34 11 39* 37 210
1923 Babe Ruth (4) N.Y. 45 13 41* 17 211
1924 Babe Ruth(S) N.Y. 39 7 46* 9 200
1925 Bob Meusel(l) N.Y. 34 12 33* 10 167
1926 Babe Ruth (6) N.Y. 30 5 47* 11 192
1927 Lou Gehrig(1) N.Y. 52* 18 47 10 239
1928 Babe Ruth (7) N.Y. 29 8 54* 4 211
1929 Babe Ruth (8) N.Y. 26 6 46* 5 181
1930 Lou Gehrig(2) N.Y. 42 17 41 12 211
1931 Lou Gehrig(3) N.Y. 31 15 46* 17 216
1932 Jimmie Foxx (1) Phil. 33 9 58* 3 228
1933 Jimmie Foxx (2) Phil. 37 9 48* 2 201
1934 Lou Gehrig (4) N.Y. 40 6 49* 9 208
1935 Hank Greenberg (1) Det. 46 16 36* 4 190
1936 Lou Gehrig(5) N.Y. 37 7 49* 3 201
1937 Joe DiMaggio (1) N.Y. 35 15 46* 3 206
1938 Hank Greenberg (2) Det. 23 4 58* 7 212
1939 Hank Greenberg (3) Det. 42 7 33 8 163
1940 Hank Greenberg (4) Det. 50* 8 41* 6 195
1941 Jeff Heath (1) Cle. 32 20* 24 18 162
1942 Ted Williams (1) Bost. 34 5 36* 3 155
1943 Rudy York (1) Det. 22 11 34* 5 151
1944 George Stirnweiss (1) N.Y. 35 16* 8 55* 146
1945 George Stirnweiss (2) N.Y. 32 22* 10 33* 139
1946 Hank Greenberg (5) Det. 29 5 44* 5 176
1947 Ted Williams (2) Bost. 40 9 32* 0 154
1948 Joe DiMaggio (2) N.Y. 26 11 39* 1 166
1949 Ted Williams (3) Bost. 39* 3 43* 1 175
1950 Joe DiMaggio (3) N.Y. 33 10 32 0 149
1951 Gus Zemial (1) Phil.-Chi. 30 5 33* 0 139
1952 Larry Doby (1) Cle. 26 8 32* 5 143
1953 Al Rosen (1) Cle. 27 5 43* 8 174
1954 Minnie Minoso (1) Chi. 29 18* 19 18 140
1955 Mickey Mantle (1) N.Y. 25 11* 37* 8 166
1956 Mickey Mantle (2) N.Y. 22 5 52* 10 198
1957 Roy Sievers (1) Wash. 23 5 42* 1 160
1958 Mickey Mantle (3) N.Y. 21 1 42* 18 167
1959 Harmon Killebrew (1) Wash. 20 2 42* 3 153
  Rocky Colavito (1) Cle. 24 0 42* 3 153
1960 Mickey Mantle (4) N.Y. 17 6 40* 14 163
1961 Roger Mans (1) N.Y. 16 4 61* 0 207
1962 Harmon Killebrew (2) Min. 21 1 48* 1 168
1963 Dick Stuart (1) Bost. 25 4 42 0 159
1964 Tony Oliva (1) Min. 43* 9 32 12 169
1965 Zoilo Versalles (1) Min. 45* 12* 19 27 153
1966 Frank Robinson (1) Bal. 34 2 49* 8 193
1967 Carl Yastrzemskj (1) Bost. 31 4 44* 10 181
1968 Frank Howard (1) Wash. 28 3 44* 0 166
1969 Reggie Jackson (1) Oak. 36 3 47 13 196
1970 Tommy Harper (I) Mil. 35 4 31 38 174
1971 Reggie Jackson (2) Oak. 29 3 32 16 147
1972 DickAllen(1) Chi. 28 5 37* 19 168
1973 Reggie Jackson (3) Oak. 28 2 32* 22 150
1974 Reggie Jackson (4) Oak. 25 1 29 25 139
1975 Reggie Jackson (5) Oak. 39 3 36* 17 170
1976 Reggie Jackson (6) Balt. 27 2 27 28 140
  Graig Nettles (1) N.Y. 29 2 32* 11 140

 

Extra Base Leaders (National League)

YEAR PLAYER TEAM 2B 3B HR SB XBH
1901 Jimmy Sheckard (1) Bkn. 31 19* 11 42 144
1902 Honus Wagner (1) Pitt. 33* 16 3 43* 117
1903 Jimmy Sheckard (2) Bkn. 29 9 9* 67* 141
1904 Honus Wagner (2) Pitt. 44* 14 4 53 137
1905 Honus Wagner (3) Pitt. 32 14 6 57 135
1906 Sherry Magee (1) Phil. 36 8 6 55 125
1907 Honus Wagner (4) Pitt. 38* 14 6 61* 145
1908 Honus Wagner (5) Pitt. 39* 19* 10 53* 160
1909 Honus Wagner (6) Pitt. 39* 10 5 35 109
1910 Sherry Magee (2) Phil. 39 17 6 49 140
1911 Frank Schulte (1) Chi. 30 21 21* 23 158
1912 OwenWilson(1) Pitt. 19 36* 11 16 140
1913 Gavvy Cravath (1) Phil. 34 14 19* 10 129
1914 Sherry Magee (3) Phil. 39* 11 15 25 131
1915 Gavvy Cravath (2) Phil. 31 7 24* 11 132
1916 MaxCarey(1) Pitt. 23 11 7 63* 129
1917 George Bums (1) N.Y. 25 13 5 40 106
1918 Max Carey (2) Pitt. 14 6 3 58* 90
1919 George Bums (2) Phil. 30 9 2 40* 94
1920 Rogers Hornsby (1) St.L. 44* 20 9 12 123
1921 Rogers Hornsby (2) St.L. 44* 18* 21 13 156
1922 Rogers Hornsby (3) St.L. 46* 14 42* 17 217
1923 Cy Williams (1) Phil. 22 3 41* 11 162
1924 Rogers Homsby (4) St.L. 43* 14 25 5 151
1925 Kiki Cuyler (1) Pitt. 43 26* 18 41 190
1926 Jim Bottomley (1) St.L. 40* 14 19 4 129
1927 Hack Wilson (1) Chi. 30 12 30* 13 157
1928 Jim Bottomley (2) St.L. 42 20* 31* 10 185
1929 Chuck Klein (1) Phil. 45 6 43* 5 191
1930 Hack Wilson (2) Chi. 35 6 56* 3 218
1931 Chuck Klein (2) Phil. 34 10 31* 7 154
1932 Chuck Klein (3) Phil. 50 15 38* 20* 214
1933 Chuck Klein (4) Phil. 44* 7 28* 15 157
1934 Rip Collins (1) St.L. 40 12 35* 2 171
1935 Wally Berger(l) Bost. 39 4 34* 3 152
1936 Joe Medwick (1) St.L. 64* 13 18 3 147
1937 Joe Medwick (2) St.L. 56* 10 31* 4 173
1938 Johnny Mize (I) St.L. 34 16* 27 0 147
1939 Johnny Mize (2) St.L. 44 14 28* 0 156
1940 Johnny Mize (3) St.L. 31 13 43* 7 193
1941 Dolph Camilli (1) Bkn. 29 6 34* 3 146
1942 Dolph Camilli (2) Bkn. 23 7 26 10 125
1943 Bill Nicholson (1) Chi. 30 9 29* 4 139
1944 Bill Nicholson (2) Chi. 35 8 33* 3 153
1945 Tommy Holmes (I) Bost. 47* 6 28* 15 158
1946 Stan Musial (1) St.L. 50* 20* 16 7 145
1947 Johnny Mize (4) N.Y. 0.3 2 51* 2 185
  Ralph Kiner (1) Pitt. 23 4 51* 1 185
1948 Stan Musial (2) St.L. 46* 18* 39 7 206
1949 Ralph Kiner (2) Pitt. 19 5 54* 6 197
1950 Ralph Kiner (3) Pitt. 21 6 47* 2 176
1951 Ralph Kiner (4) Pitt. 31 6 42* 2 171
1952 HankSauer(1) Chi. 31 3 37* 1 149
1953 Eddie Mathews (1) Mil. 31 8 47* 1 189
1954 Willie Mays(l) N.Y. 33 13* 41 8 190
1955 Willie Mays (2) N.Y. 18 13* 51* 24 221
1956 Willie Mays (3) N.Y. 27 8 36 40* 191
1957 Willie Mays (4) N.Y. 26 20* 35 38* 209
1958 Ernie Banks (1) Chi. 23 11 47* 4 190
1959 Hank Aaron (1) Mil. 46 7 39 8 185
1960 Hank Aaron (2) Mil. 20 11 40 16 178
1961 Orlando Cepeda (1) S.F. 28 4 46* 12 186
1962 Willie Mays (5) S.F. 36 5 49* 18 211
1963 Hank Aaron (3) Mil. 29 4 44* 31 200
1964 Willie Mays (6) S.F. 21 9 47* 19 199
1965 Willie Mays (7) S.F. 21 3 52* 9 192
1966 Hank Aaron (4) Atl. 23 1 44* 21 178
1967 Hank Aaron (5) Atl. 37 3 39* 17 177
1968 Hank Aaron (6) Atl. 33 4 29 28 156
1969 Bobby Bonds (1) S.F. 25 6 32 45 178
1970 Johnny Bench (1) Cin. 35 4 45* 5 183
1971 Willie Stargell (1) Pitt. 26 0 48* 0 170
  Hank Aaron (7) Atl. 23 3 47 1 170
1972 Cesar Cedeno (1) Hou. 39* 8 22 55 166
1973 Bobby Bonds (2) S.F. 38 4 39 43 202
1974 Cesar Cedeno (2) Hou. 29 5 26 57 174
1975 Mike Schmidt (1) Phil. 34 3 38* 29 183
1976 Joe Morgan (1) Cin. 30 5 27 60 181

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