6 starter questions about stealing home plate
For those who aren’t baseball obsessives, stealing home plate is a mysterious quirk of the sport. For that reason, we’re answering six basic questions about the most magical way to reach home.
Q: What is stealing home plate?
The same way a runner can steal second or third, they can steal home and earn a point for their team. It’s rare (especially today), but it’s not against the rules.
Q: Who’s to blame?
It depends. Usually, people blame the pitcher for having a slow wind-up, but sometimes a slow catcher’s throw can give the runner enough time to hit home.
The batter can also play a role. A batter whose stance blocks third is likely to help mask the runner from the catcher.
Finally, the runner obviously needs to be hyperaware and fast on their feet to steal.
Q: Who’s stolen home the most?
Ty Cobb holds the record with 54 steals of home plate. The famously ferocious player beat Max Carey by a full 21 steals.
Q: Who’s stolen home the most in a season?
Cobb holds that record as well (with eight), besting Pete Reiser’s seven steals.
Q: What about Jackie Robinson?
Robinson is famous for stealing home, especially against Yogi Berra and the Yankees.
Though his 19 steals are impressive, he doesn’t hold the record.
Q: Has stealing home changed?
Yes. It’s less common.
This 1989 New York Times article provides a diagnosis of why. Wind-ups are shorter, it’s a risky play, and players are more aware of the threat.
That said, there are still a few spectacular steals to watch for.