Vintage Photos – Stealing Home

or Jackie Robinson Makes Stealing Home Look Easy

One of the most famous film highlights of a baseball game is from September 28, Game 1 of the 1955 World Series where the Brooklyn Dodgers star Jackie Robinson stole home against the New York Yankees. The photograph above captures the bang-bang action. The play was incredibly close and you could look at the film 100 times and still not be sure of the outcome. Robinson was called safe by umpire Bill Summers. To this day, Yankees catcher Yogi Berra vehemently maintains that he tagged Robinson before his foot touched the plate.

Here is the film of the play:

The previous Rod Carew story started us on a hunt and we thought it would be interesting to assemble a group of photographs of the most exciting play in baseball – stealing home.  Jackie Robinson features prominently here.  Click on any photo to enlarge.

Robinson had a knack for stealing home as evidenced in these four photographs. Above, he pilfers the plate in the fifth inning on September 28, 1948 against the Boston Braves. The Dodger batter is Carl Furillo, the Braves catcher is Phil Masi and the umpire is George Barr. The Dodgers won the game 9-8, but the Braves would win the pennant and the Dodgers would finish the season in third place.

In game 1 of a doubleheader in the fourth inning on July 2, 1950 against the Philadelphia Phillies, Robinson stole home as the Phillies catcher Andy Seminick had to wait for the ball to arrive. Dodgers batter Gil Hodges stepped out of the way for Robinson’s dash to the plate.  It didn’t matter to the Phillies, as they defeated the Dodgers 6-4.

On August 29, 1955, just one month before his World Series swipe of home, Robinson steals home against the St. Louis Cardinals. Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres (45) moves back from the plate as catcher Bill Sarni juggles the ball and umpire Jocko Conlon makes the call.  The Dodgers won this one 10-4.

Robinson had fire in his eyes whenever he played the crosstown rival New York Giants. Here he steals home in the 2nd inning on April 25, 1956. The Giants catcher he is eluding is Wes Westrum. Robinson retired after the 1956 season rather than accept a trade to the hated Giants.

In Game 2 of the 1926 World Series on October 3, New York Yankees slugger Tony Lazzeri looked like he will be a dead duck after he broke for home and then retreated, but the Cardinals misplayed the ball and Lazzeri ended up stealing home. The Cardinals won the game 6-2 and would go on to win the World Series. The seventh and deciding game ended bizarrely with Bob Meusel at the plate and Babe Ruth representing the tying run at first. Ruth broke for second and was thrown out trying to steal. Ruth said afterwards “I thought they wouldn’t be expecting me to steal.”

Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg slides and steals home before San Diego Padres catcher Terry Kennedy can apply the tag on April 8, 1984 in the 10th inning. Cubs batter Tom Veryzer steps out of the way.

Bob Ramazzotti, third baseman of the Chicago Cubs stealing home against the Pittsburgh Pirates and catcher Phil Masi.  Ramazzotti hit a triple off Pirate pitcher Bill Werle in the third inning of the September 10, 1949 game. To add on to this indignity, the batter stepping out of the way, Herman Reich, followed the steal with a homerun. The umpire is Beans Reardon and the Cubs won the game 9-5.

Cleveland Indians shortstop and manager, Lou Boudreau steals home against the Boston Red Sox on August 1, 1948 in the 2nd inning. Red Sox catcher  Matt Batts, received the ball too late to tag Boudreau.  Sam Zoldak, the Cleveland pitcher is the batter and beneficiary as the Indians went on to win 6-1.

To conclude, many people do not realize that in the 1955 World Series in Game 1 where Jackie Robinson stole home, there was another attempted steal of home by the Yankees  Billy Martin in the sixth inning. Roy Campanella got the tag down before Martin could cross the plate. The Yankees won the game 6-5, but lost the series giving Brooklyn their only World Championship.

When do you think we will see another attempted steal of home in a World Series, let alone two?

6 thoughts on “Vintage Photos – Stealing Home

  1. John

    I’m trying to find video or picture of Tommy Harper stealing home at Fenway Park against the Yankees. This was in the early 1970’s.

    1. B.P. Post author

      Hi John
      Tommy Harper never stole home against the Yankees. Harper stole home five times during his career. Only once did he steal home while with the Red Sox and that was in Kansas City on May 28, 1973. Harper previously stole home with the Reds in 1964 and 1967 and with the Pilots in 1969 and the Brewers in 1970.
      I have a newspaper image of the 1969 steal.

  2. Ronnie

    I used one of your photos and the history you dug up on my FB page and would love to give you a credit reference, is there I can use besides B.P.?

  3. michael sheehan

    I was at that world series game (my first) and despite being a crazed, foaming-at-the-mouth 14-year-old BROOKLYN Dodger fan…I always thought he was out…although I never said so publicly until the late 80s when any loyalty I once had for the despised, carpet-bagging LA Dodgers was long since gone

  4. Bear

    I think Billy Martin was safe on that attempt. Because he was called out nobody ever talks about it, they only mention Robinson’s. And I have some doubts about Jackie being called safe but that’s not the point.


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