American League All-Time Stolen Base Leaders By Team
Stealing bases is an art form that was made especially popular by the likes of Maury Wills and Lou Brock a generation ago. Then came Rickey Henderson who shattered the all-time record for steals in a single season that still stands today (130 in 1982). Some of the game's best base stealers today include Jose Reyes of the Mets and Carl Crawford of the Devil Rays. But over the years, there have been some great speedsters that were always a menace to pitchers if they got on base. Here is a list of the top American League base stealers of all-time by team.
Baltimore Orioles-George Sisler
First baseman George Sisler never wore an Orioles uniform, but was a part of this franchise when it was the St. Louis Browns, from 1915-1927. Sisler was one of the game's greatest hitters, batting .400 or better twice. In 1922, Sisler hit an amazing .420 with a career high of 51 steals and 105 runs batted in, earning him the American League MVP Award.
Los Angeles Angels-Gary Pettis
Outfielder Gary Pettis began his career with the Angels in 1982 and played for them through the 1987 season. During his tenure in Anaheim, Pettis stole 186 bases, including a career high of 56 in 1985. He went on to play for Detroit, Texas and San Diego before retiring as a player in 1992. Pettis is currently the first base coach of the Texas Rangers.
Oakland Athletics-Rickey Henderson
Rickey Henderson is quite possibly the greatest base stealer in history, and his record of 130 steals while a member of the Oakland A's in 1982 will attest to. In all, Henderson stole 867 bases while with Oakland (four separate stints with the team), and has 1,406 in all for his career. In addition to the 130 in 1982, Henderson also swiped 100 bases in 1980 and 108 in 1983. He not only leads the majors in all-time steals, but Henderson also holds the MLB record for runs scored in a career with 2,295.
Toronto Blue Jays-Lloyd Moseby
Outfielder Lloyd Moseby played for the Blue Jays from 1980-1989, stealing a total of 255 bases during that time. His career high with the team for a single season was 39 in both 1984 and 1987. After moving on to the Detroit Tigers in 1990, Moseby played there for two seasons, and then played in Japan for two more.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays-Carl Crawford
He's the current left fielder for the Rays, and has only been playing for them since 2002. But in that short time, Carl Crawford has become one of the best offensive players in the game, stealing 247 bases and hitting .293 for his career. Crawford stole a career-high of 59 bases in 2004 (leading the American League in both 2003 and 2004), but his best all-around offensive season was 2006, when he hit .305 with 58 steals, 18 homers and 77 runs batted in.
Cleveland Indians-Kenny Lofton
In his prime, outfielder Kenny Lofton was one of the game's most exciting players, and he was one of the cogs that helped lead the Indians to a World Series appearance in 1995. In all, Lofton, who played for the Tribe from 1992-1996 and again from 1998 to 2001, stole 450 bases in an Indians uniform. His career high in Cleveland was 75 in 1996, the same year Lofton hit .317 with 14 homers and 67 RBI. Over the past decade, Lofton has become a journeyman player and is currently with the Texas Rangers.
Seattle Mariners-Julio Cruz
Cruz began his career with the Mariners in their inaugural season of 1977 and was their second baseman until 1983. During that time, Cruz tallied 290 stolen bases, ranking him tops in Mariners history (but with Ichiro Suzuki fast approaching that mark). Despite a .235 batting average in 1978, Cruz got on base enough to steal 59 bases, a career high. He went on to play for the White Sox before retiring in 1986.
Texas Rangers-Bump Wills
The son of former base-stealing icon Maury Wills, second baseman Bump Wills played for the Rangers from 1977-1981, stealing 161 bases over that time. In 1978 Wills had his highest tally with 52 steals. After playing for the Cubs for one season, Wills went on to play in Japan. He is also part of history, along with former teammate Toby Harrah, as the only players in history to hit back-to-back inside the park home runs.
Boston Red Sox-Harry Hooper
When people think of great Red Sox players, they likely think of hitters like Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Carlton Fisk, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and the like. But if you tried to come up with the Red Sox all-time stolen base leader, you'd likely not remember the name Harry Hooper. Hooper, who was an outfielder, leads the Sox all-time with 300 steals, playing for them from 1909-1920. Not surprisingly, Hooper had his best totals for steals early in his career, with 40 in 1910 and 38 in 1911.
Kansas City Royals-Willie Wilson
Outfielder Willie Wilson was one of the most prolific base stealers in history, and leads the Royals all-time with 612 while with the team (1976-1990). Wilson was a big part of the '85 championship team and also the pennant winning 1980 Royals, and his best individual season overall was 1979. During that year, Wilson had an astounding 83 stolen bases while hitting .315 and driving in 49 runs. Wilson went on to play for the A's and Cubs before retiring in 1994.
Detroit Tigers-Ty Cobb
It's no surprise that the Tigers' all-time stolen base leader is also one of the greatest hitters in the game, period. That would be outfielder Ty Cobb, who played for the Tigers for most of his career (1905-1926), stealing 865 bases during that time. In 1911, Cobb hit .420 with 83 steals and 127 RBI, but his best season overall for steals was 1915 when he swiped 96 bases while batting .369. Cobb finished his stellar career with 892 steals, a .367 batting average and 4,191 lifetime hits.
Minnesota Twins-Clyde Milan
Outfielder Clyde Milan played for this franchise when it was the Washington Senators, from 1907-1922, and it was the only team he ever played for. Over that time, Milan notched 495 stolen bases, including a career high of 88 in 1912 to go along with a .306 batting average and 79 runs batted in.
Chicago White Sox-Eddie Collins
Second baseman Eddie Collins played for the White Sox from 1915 to 1926, and stole 368 bases during that time, which ranks him first in Sox history. Collins had 81 steals while with the Philadelphia A's in 1910, but his best tally in a White Sox uniform was 53 stolen bases in 1917. Collins went back to Philadelphia in 1927, and played there until retiring in 1930.
New York Yankees-Rickey Henderson
When you have a career as lengthy as Rickey Henderson did, you're likely to wind up on a list like this twice. Henderson also holds the storied Yankees' franchise career record for stolen bases with 326. He played for the Yanks from 1985-1989, and his best total for steals in a Yankees uniform was 93 in 1988 while batting .305. Still, Henderson's 1985 season was even more incredible as a whole-80 steals, .314 batting average, 24 home runs and 72 runs batted in.