Last night’s A’s-Orioles game was a weird one.

Nelson Cruz – who was suspended last year for PEDs purchased from an anti-aging clinic – apparently confused himself for Billy Hamilton and tried to steal home in the 10th inning of last night’s 4-3 loss to Oakland.


Let’s briefly review why this was a terrible, terrible for which Cruz should never be forgiven.

  • Chris Davis was at the plate. Oh, you know, the Chris Davis who hit 53 homers last year and is currently hitting .318 with runners in scoring position.
  • Nelson Cruz has one stolen base this year. ONE. To be fair, that’s one more than me, but my athletic prime is is long passed and I don’t own a pair of cleats.
  • It’s damn near impossible to steal home these days. Take a peek at Baseball Almanac’s list of players who have stolen home ten-plus times. Lots of dead guys on that list*.

*Somehow, Babe Ruth managed to steal home ten times! I don’t know how that was possible, but it’s true. I strongly urge you to use this information to win a bar bet by asking, “Who stole home more times – Rickey Henderson or Babe Ruth?” Please give me credit and send half of your winnings, xoxo.

The bottom line here is that you should probably never steal home, and especially not when you’re not a base stealer and the reigning MLB home run leader is at the dish. Josh Goldman at Fangraphs wrote an interesting piece on stealing home and concluded the break-even rate for swiping home with two outs is 34%.  That might seem low, but Nelson Cruz has only stolen 6 bases since the start of 2013 (at a 55% success rate). He never had a chance.

Now that I’ve presented sufficient evidence that stealing home is, at best, an ill-advised decision, enjoy this video of a successful walk-off steal of home by Tinora High School in the Ohio state baseball tournament.

Follow Sean on Twitter @the_graw