This Date in A's History, April 6

One of these guys stole a base on April 6, 1983. (It's not the one facing the camera). - Getty Images

Not surprising that the A’s stole their way to victory in 1983. The surprise was the guy missing from the heist.

Rickey Henderson liked stealing bases. Even before arriving on the scene in Oakland, he demonstrated a penchant for thievery. He once swiped seven bases in a single minor-league game. In his first full season in the bigs – 1980 – he stole exactly 100 bases, breaking an American League mark that stood for 65 years. Following the strike-shortened season of 1981, Rickey raced past Lou Brock into the records with 130 stolen bases. It is a number that has hardly been approached in the 30 years since. Rickey would go on to pilfer 108 bases in 1983; he was the first of two players to reach the century mark in three different seasons.

But on a strange Wednesday afternoon – April 6, 1983 – Rickey did not steal one base. Well, that’s a hardly a rare thing, right? Right, but three of his teammates did, and another – Dwayne Murphy – was caught attempting one. I mean, Carney Lansford had a stolen base that night!

So Rickey let someone else carry the load this day; big deal. He probably didn’t even get on base. Well, yeah actually he did. He reached base five times to be exact, four times via a walk; two times he led off an inning by taking a free pass.

But Rickey, being Rickey, still made his presence felt. He opened Oakland’s home half of the first with a triple off Bert Blyleven, and waltzed home on a sac fly by Lansford giving the A’s a lead they would never relinquish en route to a 5-3 win. He walked to lead off the third, went to third base on a single by Mike Davis, and both runners scored courtesy of a two-bagger off the bat of captain Murphy.

Henderson walked again in the fourth and sixth innings, both times with two outs and a man in front of him on the basepaths. He was issued another walk leading off the eighth but was immediately forced at second on a groundball by Davis, thwarting his last chance to join Davis, Lansford, and Tony Phillips in the stolen base column for the A’s.

Funny thing, baseball.

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