Baseball base

Sept. 29, 1973

A special night at the old bandbox – Luis Tiant won his 20th, an 11-2 thumping of the Milwaukee Brewers in the first game of a twi-nighter. There was also a truly unique accomplishment, one that had eluded the Red Sox since their first season away  from the Huntington Avenue Grounds.

Tommy Harper stole his 53rd base of the season in the first game, passing Tris Speaker’s record of 52 in 1912, Fenway’s first season

Stolen bases were pretty much something the Red Sox tried to prevent; no one really discussed the possibility of the Red Sox having a base stealer of their own. The philosophy of loading up on right-handed batters with the Fenway stroke pretty much began and ended discussion of offensive strategy.

Who wants to run into an out and kill the possibility of a three-run pop-fly into the net?

That changed over the ensuing decades, until Jacoby Ellsbury showed that there is some benefit to having a base stealer in the lineup.

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