On May 1, 1991 — 24-years-ago today — Rickey Henderson passed Lou Brock for the all-time stolen base record.
Records are broken all the time, but any stolen base record is a little different in practice, at that particular moment. The stolen base requires the element of surprise, you see, so when someone is at a milestone moment in stolen bases you know damn well he’s got a bit of an extra incentive to go. You know it’s coming and he knows you know it’s coming, yet you play that game anyway.
Such was the case with Rickey Henderson on that day in 1991, as this video of the event shows. Yet, despite the fact that everyone knew Rickey was going, he still got a huge jump and it wasn’t even close:
Fun fact about Rickey and stolen bases: he stole 467 bases AFTER breaking Lou Brock’s record. If you just took his post-record stolen bases, he’d rank 46th on the all-time list, ahead of guys like Bobby Bonds, Ichiro, Jose Reyes, Carl Crawford and Roberto Alomar.
Of course Rickey wasn’t just stolen bases. He got on base and scored runs better than almost everyone in history. He hit for power. He played great defense when he was younger. Indeed, no player gets overlooked more than Rickey Henderson when it comes to the Greatest Living Ballplayer conversation. I still think it’s Willie Mays right now with Hank Aaron likely second. Your mileage may vary on Bonds depending on what you think of him, obviously. But if Rickey Henderson isn’t on your short list, I don’t wanna know you.
With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.
It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.
Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.
Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.