MLB Stolen Base Leaders By Year—1980s
The ‘80's were what you might call a Golden Age for base stealers in Major League Baseball. In fact, three players dominated the leader board in stolen bases during the decade, and here is a complete list by year of those leaders:
1989-Rickey Henderson, Oakland Athletics/New York Yankees (77)
Rickey Henderson began his career with Oakland, went to the Yankees for a few seasons, and then was traded back to Oakland in 1989. That season, Henderson led the majors in stolen bases once again, with 77 (25 with New York, 52 with Oakland). He also hit .274 with 12 home runs, 57 runs batted in, 26 doubles, 113 runs, 126 walks, and a .411 on-base percentage.
1988-Rickey Henderson, New York Yankees (93)
Henderson may have lost a step by his own standards in the late ‘80's, but he was still ahead of many of his peers. In 1988, Henderson led the majors with 93 steals, the most in a season for Rickey since he stole 108 bases in 1983. That 1988 season, Henderson batted .305 with 6 homers, 50 RBI, 118 runs, 30 doubles and a .394 on-base average.
1987-Vince Coleman, St. Louis Cardinals (109)
Outfielder Vince Coleman was always a menace on the bases to his opponents, but for the Cardinals (and their fans), he was The Man for those first few years in the big leagues. Coleman led the majors in steals from 1985 through 1987, and in two of those seasons the Cardinals reached the World Series. In 1987, Coleman stole 109 bases, and hit .289 with 43 RBI, 180 hits, 121 runs, 14 doubles, 10 triples, and a .363 on-base percentage.
1986-Vince Coleman, St. Louis Cardinals (107)
1986 was another year at the office for Vince Coleman, as he once again led the major leagues in steals with 107. Coleman batted just .232 but had 60 walks, 139 hits, 94 runs, 13 doubles, 8 triples and a .301 on-base average.
1985-Vince Coleman, St. Louis Cardinals (110)
Vince Coleman's rookie season is one the New York Mets would like to forget, because Coleman almost single-handedly won the Cardinals the NL East division. Coleman led the majors that season with a career-best 110 stolen bases, and batted .267 with 170 hits, 107 runs, 20 doubles, 10 triples, 40 RBI, and a .320 on-base percentage. Not surprisingly, Coleman also won the NL Rookie of the Year Award that season.
1984-Tim Raines, Montreal Expos (75)
Tim Raines played in the majors for an incredible 23 seasons, but his best years as a base stealer were early on while with Montreal. In 1984, Raines led the league with 75 stolen bases. He also batted .309 with 8 homers, 60 RBI, 192 hits, 38 doubles, 9 triples, 106 runs, 87 walks, a .393 on-base average and .437 slugging percentage.
1983-Rickey Henderson, Oakland Athletics (108)
Henderson was an absolute monster on the base paths early in his career, and in 1983 he had over 100 steals for the third time in four seasons (the only one with less than 100 was the strike year of 1981). In 1983, Henderson stole 108 bases, and he hit .292 with 150 hits, 103 walks, 25 doubles, 7 triples, 9 homers, 48 runs batted in, 105 runs and a .414 on-base percentage.
1982-Rickey Henderson, Oakland Athletics (130)
In 1982, Rickey Henderson broke the all-time record for stolen bases in a season with 130. That record still stands today and is one that may never be broken, at least not for a long time. That season, Henderson batted .267 with 10 home runs 51 RBI, 119 runs, 24 doubles, 116 walks, and a .398 on-base percentage.
1981-Tim Raines, Montreal Expos (71)
In the strike-shortened 1981 season, Montreal's Tim Raines still managed to tally 71 stolen bases in just 88 games, which led the big leagues. That season, Raines batted .304 with 5 home runs, 37 runs batted in, 95 hits, 61 runs, 13 doubles, 7 triples, and a .391 on-base average and .438 slugging percentage.
1980-Rickey Henderson, Oakland Athletics (100)
1980 was Rickey Henderson's first full season in the majors, and he made an immediate impact, leading the majors with 100 stolen bases. He also hit .303 with 9 homers, 53 RBI, 179 hits, 111 runs, 22 doubles, 4 triples, 117 walks and a .420 on-base percentage.