Opening Day 2011 will be the 50th Opening Day in Mets history. To honor that, around here we’ll be counting down the top 50 Mets in team history, one every weekday from now until we’ve done ‘em all. Today, #28, Kevin McReynolds:
Longest consecutive successful stolen base streaks in Mets history:
33 steals – Kevin McReynolds: McReynolds stole 21 bases without being caught in 1988. This was a single season record until Chase Utley broke it in 2009, stealing 23 bases without being caught . . . ugh, that freaking guy. He ruins everything.
On June 2, 1987, at Dodgers Stadium, in top of the second inning, Kevin McReynolds was thrown out trying to steal second in a 2-6, strikeout-throwout double play. That was the last time McReynolds would be caught stealing for nearly two years. He stole 11 bases the rest of the ’87 season without being thrown out, then stole 21 straight bases in 1988. McReynolds stole his 33rd base in a row with his first attempt in 1989, before finally being thrown out on his second attempt of the year.
26 steals – Howard Johnson: Johnson’s streak might be the most impressive one here, considering that it happened in a three month span in 1989. I’m also 85% convinced that this frenzy was fueled solely by the possibility of a 40-40 season. And when I say that I’m “85% convinced,” I really mean that I’m “wildly and irresponsibly speculating.” Here’s my weak, incidental evidence: On July 1st, Johnson had 21 home runs, more than halfway to 40, but also just 14 stolen bases. However, by the end of the month, Johnson suddenly had 26 home runs and 26 steals, being successful in his last 17 steal attempts. 26-26 after four month is on pace for 39-39; I bet he was thinking 40-40. He went 8 for 8 on steal attempts during August, stole a base on September 1st, and was finally thrown out on September 6th after 26 straight steals.
Johnson didn’t get the 40-40, of course. He finished the year with 41 steals, but was 4 home runs short of 40. His strikeouts did spike during his final September push, so I’ll interpret that as him swinging for the fences.
20 steals – Bob Bailor: I was not aware of Bob Bailor’s existence until just now. Allegedly, he was a utility man and speedster on the early 80s Mets, playing every position except catcher during his career. Bailor stole 20 bases in a row as a part time player between 1982 and 1983, and was 40 for 46 throughout his Mets career (86.9%). Somehow, that percentage makes Bailor the most effective base stealer in team history — minimum 30 steals — beating out the sneaky Carlos Beltran (85.8%) and, uh, surprising Cliff Floyd (84.2%).
19 steals – David Wright: Stealing bases: Just another thing David Wright used to be better at.
19 steals – Carlos Beltran: Beltran was caught stealing on May 4th, 2007; he then stole 18 bases in a row over the remainder of the season, and was successful in his first attempt of 2008, making an even 19. Not his most impressive streak, however – during his Sherman’s March through the NL after being traded to the Astros in 2004, El Esta Aqui was 28 for 28 on stolen base attempts.
19 – Tommie Agee: Agee’s stolen base streak is a shorter one like Johnson’s, compressed over just 52 games in 1971. I have no theory about this one, however, other than Agee was good at stealing bases and happened to steal a bunch in a row.