Speedy rookie Ruiz joins Henderson with elite stolen-base feat originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
When you think of an Athletics player stealing bases, one name immediately comes to mind: Rickey Henderson.
Twenty years later, there’s now a new player in an A’s uniform quickly sliding his way from base to base and into elite company alongside Henderson.
Esteury Ruiz, in his first season with Oakland, stole his 20th base and powered the walk-off hit in Tuesday’s 9-8 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Coliseum. The 24-year-old rookie outfielder now joins a rare list of A’s players who have recorded at least 20 stolen bases through the first 44 games played.
Rare as in the only other player on that list is Henderson.
For 25 seasons, Henderson’s rare mixture of speed and quick judgment on the base path allowed him to become MLB’s all-time leader in stolen bases.
Henderson was the 1990 MVP, a two-time world champion, a ten-time all-star, a gold glover and a three-time silver slugger during his 25-year career that ended in a Hall of Fame induction in 2009. Surely not bad company to be in for Ruiz.
Times are different now with the 2023 MLB rule changes in effect, one of which being that the bases are bigger to encourage more stolen bases. The distance from each base is now 4 1/2 inches shorter.
With his speed, a .333 OBP so far this year and 118 games left to play, Ruiz can swipe many other historic feats.