In the third inning of the Padres-Braves game yesterday, while trailing 1-0 to his former employer, Greg Maddux tried to make something happen. With one out, he singled off of Charlie Morton, and proceeded to steal second base following the next retired batter. The inning would ultimately fail to produce a run for the Friars but the stolen base added yet another accomplishment to Greg’s long hall of fame resume. At 42 years and 89 days old, Maddux became the oldest pitcher to steal a base, a mark previously held by Jim Kaat.
According to Greg they weren’t holding him on and it wasn’t a big deal because, even if he was thrown out, the lineup had already been turned over. Plus, the Padres were struggling to score runs and, pitcher or no pitcher, he was a baserunner.
Greg has stolen eleven bases in his career while thrice being caught. He has not, however, failed in an attempt since the 2000 season, going a perfect 7-7 since. Stealing one base in each of the 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008 seasons, Maddux actually stole two in the 2006 season; one while on the Cubs and one while in Dodger blue. Here are the pitcher/catcher batteries unsuccessful in preventing the speedy professor:
2002: Tomo Ohka/Michael Barrett
2004: Jason Marquis/Mike Matheny
2005: Jae Seo/Ramon Castro
2006: Matt Cain/Eliezer Alfonzo AND Chris Young/Mike Piazza
2007: Jeff Francis/Yorvit Torrealba
2008: Charlie Morton/Brian McCann
He has pitched fairly well this year—3.90 ERA/3.92 FIP—and his in-season Marcel projects him to get even better over his next 12-15 starts. Still, this may be his final season and I would not be surprised in the least if he finds himself in a new uniform prior to the trading deadline. A contending team likely would not need to part with a top-tier prospect for his services and teams could do far worse than plug him in as a #3 or #4 starter. The Padres have been a severe disappointment this year after coming within one game of the playoffs in 2007; it would do them well to work towards assembling an offense capable enough of preventing pitchers from feeling that if they do not steal bases, they will not be batted in.