Stolen bases were losing their place in the new age of baseball. Teams would feel more content to keep their base runners stay put and wait for somebody to hit the long ball. But with the new rule changes that came to Major League Baseball in 2023 limiting how many times a pitcher can throw over to a base, and increasing the size of the bases, athleticism has a place in baseball again.
The Cardinals have a storied history when it comes to stealing bases with players like Ozzie Smith, Vince Coleman, and of course, Lou Brock, who was baseball's all-time stolen base king for almost 2 decades.
The most stolen bases the Cardinals have had in a single season is 314 in 1985, which is the 4th most for a team in MLB history, only the 1911 and 1912 Giants and the 1976 Athletics have had more. No team has relatively come close to that mark set by the '85 Cards team.
We will start to see more and more stolen bases in the near future, but there were still some Redbirds that were able to steal 30 bags before the new rules and new bases. Who was able to swipe 30 bases in the post "Whitey Ball" era? Let's start with the most recent.
1. Tommy Edman- 30 steals in 2021 and 32 steals in 2022
Edman is the definition of versatility. He won a Gold Glove at second base in 2021, and definitely could've won another last season, and has played gold glove caliber defense at shortstop and in the outfield. He can hit anywhere in a lineup but has always had the ability to be a burner on the bases.
Not only has Edman led the Cardinals in stolen bases the past 3 seasons (which includes this year) he is also very efficient in swiping bags too. In his 5 year career, he has 94 stolen bases, and he has only been caught stealing 15 times. That adds up to an 86.2% stolen base percentage, to put that in some perspective, the all-time stolen base leader Rickey Henderson, had an 80.8% stolen base percentage, and the Cardinals' all-time steals leader Lou Brock was only at 75.3%. Granted the sample size is much much smaller for Edman, but very impressive nonetheless.
His base-stealing abilities were strong in the minor leagues as well. In his last full minor league in 2018, Edman stole 30 bases in 35 attempts with Springfield and Memphis. He currently has 15 steals on the 2023 season and is 6 steals away from becoming the 28th player in Cardinal history with 100 stolen bases.