Last Sunday, Zack Greinke stole his second base of the year. This event prompted a few questions.
Zack Greinke was stealing second base on his own. Asked if he got a steal sign Greinke said, "They didn't say not to go."— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) September 2, 2013
Oh, Greinke, you little scamp. And on Thursday night, Tony CIngrani, my not-so-secret pitcher crush, swiped the first base by a Reds pitcher since Bronson Arroyo in 2008. Hide your catchers, hide your wife.
This brought up a natural inquiry: When was the last pitcher stolen base for each franchise?
The pitcher stolen base isn't new. Bob Gibson stole five bases in 1969 as revenge for lowering the mound. There have been 869 pitcher steals since 1918. Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, and Gibson stole bases 741, 742, and 743. Orel Hershiser swiped the occasional base. Adam Eaton has a fifth of the pitcher steals in Padres history. Greinke didn't invent the pitcher steal.
But he made us think about it. So here are the last pitchers to steal a base for every franchise:
Cincinnati Reds - Tony Cingrani, 9/5/13
Los Angeles Dodgers - Zack Greinke, 9/1/13 (Box)
St. Louis Cardinals - Jake Westbrook, 7/24/13 (Box)
Atlanta Braves - Kris Medlen, 6/19/13 (Box)
Chicago Cubs - Travis Wood, 5/2/13 (Box)
San Diego Padres - Andrew Cashner, 4/26/13 (Box)
Philadelphia Phillies - Cliff Lee, 7/31/12 (Box)
Milwaukee Brewers - Zack Greinke, 8/28/11 (Box)
Arizona Diamondbacks - Joe Saunders, 9/4/10 (Box)
Pittsburgh Pirates - Daniel McCutchen, 8/8/10 (Box)
New York Mets - Oliver Perez, 5/11/08 (Box)
These are the fun teams. Like the teams who let their position players pitch, pitchers swiping the occasional bag add color and flavor to a long, long season. And this isn't Greinke's first rodeo, as he's also the last Brewer to steal a base.
One note with the Cubs is that Greg Maddux had five steals with them. That's pretty neat, but it's even better that the first and last were 18 years apart. I miss that guy.
Houston Astros - Brandon Backe, 5/25/05 (Box)
Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals - Sun-Woo Kim, 5/2/04 (Box)
San Francisco Giants - Kirk Rueter, 8/29/03 (Box)
Colorado Rockies - Mike Hampton, 7/22/02 (Box)
Texas Rangers - Kenny Rogers, 6/16/02 (Box)
Chicago White Sox - Kip Wells, 7/12/01 (Box)
Anaheim Angels - Ismael Valdez, 6/8/01 (Box)
Here's where we get into the interleaguers stealing to impress their friends back in the American League. The last interleague steal was Kenny Rogers in 2002. That was a bit of a ...
... gamble. But it paid off.
Wells's steal was the tying run in a game against the Cubs, but the Cubs won the game on a Ricky Gutierrez grand slam. It was opposite day! A short list of people who appeared in that game: Jose Canseco, Todd Van Poppel, Herb Perry, Tom Gordon, and Delino DeShields. The only player still active today was Paul Konerko
This also means that the Rockies have the longest drought in the N.L, which makes sense considering that Coors Field isn't where you need to manufacture runs. But don't sleep on the Giants there in second-to-last place. They were also second-to-last when it came to position players pitching. They're pretty much the second-to-last funnest franchise, and now we've got scientific proof.
Oakland Athletics - Gene Nelson, 7/3/88 (Box)
Toronto Blue Jays - Bob Bailor, 8/16/80 (Box)
Oakland Athletics - Blue Moon Odom, 6/29/72 (Box) (See correction below)
Baltimore Orioles - Jim Palmer, 8/16/71 (Box)
Minnesota Twins - Jim Kaat, 7/30/71 (Box)
Detroit Tigers - Mickey Lolich, 4/14/70 (Box)
Boston Red Sox - Bill Landis, 9/8/69 (Box)
Kansas City Royals - Wally Bunker, 6/7/69 (Box)
New York Yankees - Dooley Womack, 8/23/68 (Box)
Cleveland Indians - John O'Donoghue, 7/5/67 (Box)
Standard stuff, considering the advent of the DH, and ... wait a second, Bob Bailor, what are you doing? 1980?
Bailor was an outfielder. But he pitched in the same game that he stole a base, so I'm not about to disqualify a position player who pitched. But, technically, no Blue Jays pitcher has ever stolen a base.
Right after Mark Belanger was caught stealing, Palmer walked and took matters into his own hands. He didn't score (though he was 1 for 3 with a run), but he did go back out and finish the game for the win.
The late '60s and early '70s were a powder keg of pitcher steals. Or maybe those were the last years in which all of the pitchers hit for themselves. Before the fun was sucked out of baseball. You're telling me you don't want to watch Bartolo Colon run the bases? I do. You're a perfectionist, that's what's wrong with you.
In order of how easy it is to excuse this oversight. The Rays are new and in the AL. They've played 138 games in a National League park in team history, so of course they don't have a steal. The Mariners haven't had many more, to be honest, and they've been around entirely in the DH era.
The Marlins, though, are awful and they have no excuse. Sit in the corner and think about what you've done, Marlins. And get Jacob Turner on a treadmill. The time is nigh.
Edit: An astute reader pointed out that on July 3, 1988, reliever Gene Nelson stole a base for the A's. This didn't show up on my original search because Nelson didn't actually pitch in the game. La Russa!