Zack Greinke steals a base
Zack Greinke has a very respectable 10-3 record with the Arizona D’Backs this season. But he is also making a little news with his bat… and his legs.
Greinke is looked upon as one of baseball’s best athletes among pitchers. He has been a threat with the bat; he is batting .270 this season with 10 hits, second most for pitchers. On June 23, he stole a base, his first of the season, in the D’Backs 7-6 win over Colorado. It was Greinke’s fifth career stolen base, making him one of only 84 pitchers to have stolen five or more career bases.
Greinke has quite a ways to go to challenge the MLB record for most career steals by a pitcher. That mark belongs to Bill Donovan who had 34 steals in his career that lasted from 1901-18. Second on the list is Doc White with 32; he is another hurler who played in the early days of baseball… from 1901-13.
If we look at pitchers from a more recent time, Greinke is one of 11 pitchers who has played since 1970 to steal five or more bases in a career. Here’s a look at the pitchers who played since 1970 and have the most career steals.
13: Bob Gibson
11: Greg Maddux
9: John Denny
8: Orel Hershiser
7: Joaquin Andujar
6: Dick Hall, Blue Moon Odom
5: Tom Browning, Adam Eaton, Zack Greinke, Jim Kaat,
The most stolen bases by a pitcher in a season since 1970 is four by Blue Moon Odom in 1972 when he played for the Oakland A’s. Tom Browning (1988 with Cincinnati) and Joaquin Andujar (1985 with St. Louis) each stole three bases to follow Odom.
With his fifth career stolen base to go along with six career home runs, Greinke also became the 31st pitcher in MLB history to have five career steals and five career HRs. Only six pitchers have reached these numbers since 1960: Andujar, Gibson, Greinke, Kaat, Maddux and Odom. Gibson is one of four pitchers in history to have 10 career steals and 10 homers; he had 24 HRs and 13 steals. The others: Bucky Walters (23 HRs and 12 steals); Walter Johnson (24 HRs and 13 steals); and Harry Howell (10 HRs and 18 steals).
Ryan Braun joins exclusive 1500-250-150 club
Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun last season on August 19, 2015, hit career HR #252, giving him sole possession of the most career homers in Brewers team history. Also last season he collected career stolen base #150, and earlier this year he got his 1,500th base hit. Braun has played his entire 10-year career with the Brewers (we’ll see if he finishes the year with the team considering he is the constant focus of trade talks).
When he got his 1,500th hit, Braun joined a very select group of players: He became the 19th player in MLB history to have 1,500 hits, 250 home runs and 150 stolen bases with one team. Braun became the second Brewers player to reach these numbers; Robin Yount played all 20 of his MLB seasons with the Brewers amassing 3,142 hits, 251 HRs and 271 stolen bases.
The Brewers are one of only six teams to have two or more players in this 1500-250-150 group. The others: Houston, New York Yankees, Atlanta, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco. Nineteen of the 32 MLB teams do not a player in this group.
Following are the teams with a player who has/had 1,500 career hits, 250 career homers, and 150 career steals with that team.
3: Atlanta (Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones and Dale Murphy)
3: New York Yankees (Derek Jeter, Mickey Mantle and Alex Rodriguez)
2: Chicago Cubs (Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa)
2: Houston (Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio)
2: Milwaukee (Ryan Braun and Robin Yount)
2: San Francisco (Barry Bonds and Willie Mays)
1: Boston (Carl Yastrzemski)
1: Cincinnati (Frank Robinson)
1: Kansas City (George Brett)
1: Philadelphia (Mike Schmidt)
1: Seattle: Ken Griffey, Jr.)
Repeat match-ups in the championship series
The Golden State Warriors-Cleveland Cavaliers match-up in this year’s NBA Finals is a repeat of last year’s title series won by the Warriors. It is the 14th time in NBA history that two teams played in the NBA Finals in consecutive years.
Those 14 occasions are the most of the four major sports. Repeat finals teams have squared off nine times in the history of the NHL; it has happened nine times in Major League Baseball. In the NFL, however, there has been only once where the teams that played in the Super Bowl appeared in the game the following year.
Let’s take a look at the repeat finals match-ups in each of the four major sports.
Golden State-Cleveland, 2015, 2016
Miami-San Antonio, 2013, 2014
Chicago-Utah, 1997, 1998
L.A. Lakers-Boston, 1984, 1985
Philadelphia-L.A. Lakers, 1982, 1983
N.Y. Knicks-L.A. Lakers, 1972, 1973
Boston-L.A. Lakers, 1968, 1969
Boston-L.A. Lakers, 1965, 1966
Boston-L.A. Lakers, 1962, 1963
Boston-St. Louis Hawks, 1960, 1961
Boston-St. Louis Hawks, 1957, 1958
N.Y. Knicks-Minneapolis Lakers, 1952, 1953
Detroit-Pittsburgh, 2008, 2009
Montreal-Boston, 1977, 1978
Montreal-St. Louis, 1968, 1969
Toronto-Detroit, 1963, 1964
Montreal-Toronto, 1959, 1960
Montreal-Boston, 1957, 1958
Detroit-Montreal, 1954, 1955, 1956
Toronto-Detroit, 1948, 1949
Toronto-N.Y. Rangers, 1932, 1933
L.A. Dodgers-N.Y. Yankees, 1977, 1978
Milwaukee Braves-N.Y. Yankees, 1957, 1958
Brooklyn Dodgers-N.Y Yankees, 1955, 1956
Brooklyn Dodgers-N.Y. Yankees, 1952, 1953
St. Louis Cards-N.Y. Yankees, 1942, 1943
N.Y. Yankees-N.Y. Giants, 1936-1937
St. Louis Cards-Philadelphia A’s, 1930, 1931
N.Y. Yankees-N.Y. Giants, 1921, 1922, 1923
Chicago Cubs-Detroit, 1907, 1908
As I’m sure you noticed, there were two instances where two teams played for the championship in three straight seasons: In the NHL from 1954-56 when the Red Wings and Canadians did it three years straight; and in MLB when New York teams the Yankees and the Giants played in the World Series each year from 1921-23.
In the 32 previous times prior to the Warriors and Cavs meeting for the second straight season, the same team won the title in back-to-back seasons 17 times… in 13 seasons the two teams split championships. In the two cases where teams played each other in three straight seasons, one team won two straight then lost the third time.
Could the Warriors and Cavs become the first NBA teams to go back-to-back-to-back?