StaTuesday: Brewers can steal their way into MLB history

The Milwaukee Brewers called up speedster Quintin Berry on Tuesday. Perhaps he can motivate Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw to swipe a few more bases.

Braun currently has eight steals and Shaw nine. If both can reach 10 steals on the season — hardly a far-off projection — the Brewers will make major-league history.

Milwaukee already has five players with double digits in both home runs and stolen bases.

Player HR SB
Travis Shaw 27 9
Domingo Santana 24 12
Keon Broxton 20 19
Orlando Arcia 14 12
Ryan Braun 14 8
Hernan Perez 13 12
Jonathan Villar 11 23

If either Braun or Shaw can reach 10 steals, Milwaukee will tie the MLB record for the number of players on a team in a season with 10 homers and stolen bases. The Brewers would also be the first team this century to accomplish the feat.

If both can reach double-digits in stolen bases, then the Brewers will be the first team in major-league history to have seven players with 10+ HR and 10+ SB.

As it stands, this year’s Brewers are just the 10th team to have five players reach those totals and the first National League team since 1999.

All but one of the previous nine teams had a winning record and four won their division.

Team Year No. Wins Division
Reds 1991 6 74 5
Yankees 1998 6 114 1
Reds 1999 6 96 2
Expos 1993 5 94 2
Blue Jays 1998 5 88 3
Astros 1998 5 102 1
Braves 1999 5 103 1
White Sox 2000 5 95 1
Rays 2011 5 91 2
Brewers 2017 5* 72* ?

* — as of Sept. 4

A few former Brewers were on the Reds teams which had six players with 10 or more homers and steals. Glenn Braggs was among those on the 1991 Cincinnati team (along with Eric Davis, Barry Larkin, Hal Morris, Paul O’Neill and Chris Sabo) while Mike Cameron and Greg Vaughn were on the ’99 edition (along with Aaron Boone, Larkin, Pokey Reese and Michael Tucker).

The 1998 Yankees consisted of Scott Brosius, Chad Curtis, Derek Jeter, Chuck Knoblauch, O’Neill and Bernie Williams.

The Brewers have had four players with double-digit homers and steals on five previous occasions: 1973, 1987, 2005, 2008 and 2012.

Oh, and there is one other player who could crack the club for Milwaukee this year, although unlikely: Eric Thames has 28 home runs and four steals. But who knows, maybe he goes on a stolen base tear over the final month.

Either way, keep an eye on the basepaths — and MLB history — as the season winds to a conclusion.

Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow, Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns