When Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Manuel Margot was caught stealing on an attempt of home plate the other night, I looked into the Washington Nationals history of such plays.
In the bottom of the fourth inning in Game 5 of the World Series, Tampa Bay outfielder Manuel Margot tried to steal home off of Clayton Kershaw. Didn’t go so well. Seeing this exciting play made me look into the last time the Washington Nationals had a player steal home.
A true, straight steal of home.
Through my research, I can’t find where this has happened, and it is high time it did. Just for the pure sake of crossing it off the list. Like the New York Mets did when Johan Santana pitched the franchises first no-hitter after 50 years of not having one. Or the Tampa Bay Rays will do when they finally get someone to have a 20-game hitting streak (the one team yet to accomplish this).
Stealing home used to be one of the most exciting plays in baseball. With the recent analytics move in baseball, stealing second base has become taboo of late.
I mean Ty Cobb stole home safely 54 times in his career, the all-time leader in a record tougher to break than Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hitting streak. How exciting was Jackie Robinson’s steal of home in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series?
Sure the game has changed since Cobb’s days. Even since the 50, when Robinson made stealing home look easy. Pitchers don’t use long, exaggerated windups anymore where they throw their arms over their head. Pitchers rarely pitch from the full windup at all with runners on base.
In the history of the Washington Nationals they are credited with a few steals of home, though not straight steals. In 2011 Ian Desmond stole home, on the backend of a double steal. The following year Bryce Harper swiped home, on a weak throw over to first base. They call it a straight steal, though it didn’t come on a pitch, it came on a pickoff attempt.
In 2016 Trea Turner joined the club when Danny Espinosa was caught in a run down, allowing Turner to score from third. What looks more like a fielder’s choice, goes into the books as a stolen base.
Last year, Anthony Rendon added his name to the list when he took home, on the backend of a double steal as well.
There has yet to be a Washington National take home on a pitch, Manuel Margot style. Well, except actually stealing home successfully.
Here’s hoping we get to see this at some point in 2021. Trea Turner, I’m looking at you.