The Most Exciting Play in Baseball Was Accomplished by Rod Carew Seven Times in 1969
It’s a play you hardly see anymore- the pure stealing of home plate. Not part of a double steal or a failed suicide squeeze attempt.
At the urging of Minnesota Twins manager Billy Martin in 1969, second baseman Rod Carew swiped home an astonishing seven times in one season, tying the major league record of Pete Reiser of the Brooklyn Dodgers set back in 1946.
You’d think that Carew must have stolen a lot of bases that year considering his constant stealing of home. Amazingly, Carew stole a total of only 19 bases that year!
Carew, the future Hall of Famer, told the story of how he perfected the steal of home in his 1979 autobiography Carew by Rod Carew with Ira Berkow (Simon and Schuster ,1979) which is excerpted here.
Carew stole home his record tying seventh time on July 16, 1969 in the second inning against the Chicago White Sox in the first game of a double header at the Twins home park, Metropolitan Stadium. The Twins ended up winning the game 9-8.
Shown here is Carew sliding past White Sox catcher Don Pavletich, the umpire is Bob Stewart, and the batter (number 13) is John Roseboro.
I especially like the fan in the right hand corner of the photo above the dugout making the call.
What I didn’t know was that Carew was called out on what would have been his eighth and record breaking steal of home. From his autobiography:
“…about a month later against Seattle [the Pilots] I had the opportunity to go for number eight, the record. Skip Lockwood a right-hander, was pitching. I got a great jump on him, and I slid by the plate as the ball popped into the catcher’s mitt.
But the umpire called me out. I couldn’t believe it. J. C. Martin was catching, and he couldn’t believe the call either (he didn’t tell me that until the next day). I think the umpire’s vision was blocked, so he automatically gave me the thumb.
That was my last good chance to steal home in 1969.”