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New York Mets All-Time Lists

New York Mets all-time greatest base thieves in franchise history

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ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the socks worn by Shortstop Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets on the field in the sixth inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on September 15, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the socks worn by Shortstop Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets on the field in the sixth inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on September 15, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 11: Detail of a New York Mets player’s sock during the game against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on April 11, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Stealing is wrong but these New York Mets made it feel right. They are the greatest base thieves in Mets history.

The New York Mets can go extended periods without being considered speed demons. In many recent seasons, this has been the case.

Oh, but steals are so last century, you say. The mantra over time is this: The stolen base has its place. Even in the age of analytics, speed can kill on both the top and bottom of the inning.

Mets fans know. They’ve seen everyone from Dwight Gooden to Noah Syndergaard get thrown off their game by opponents stealing at will. And while teams had trouble getting Mike Piazza out, the Hall of Fame catcher had plenty of trouble throwing runners out.

Remember the 2015 World Series? It seems like a long time ago, but the Kansas City Royals ran wild on the Mets, stealing seven bases without getting caught. (The Mets—last in steals in 2015—were one out of three in steal attempts against the Royals.)

Maybe Kansas City’s speed was on Lucas Duda’s mind when Eric Hosmer tried to score from third on that groundout with two outs in the ninth in Game Five. Duda’s hurried throw sailed away, along with any hope of keeping alive those championship dreams.

The Mets have had some fleet base runners through the years, though. They’ve also had runners who stole less often, but who were rarely thrown out. Let’s look at both.

Steals can be both a counting stat, which favors the long-serving Mets; steal percentage is a rate stat, which favors those who picked their spots. The traditional measuring tool is that a base stealer needs to be successful 75 percent of the time to make the possibility of getting eliminated on the base paths worth the risk.

Baseball-reference.com uses 80 steal attempts as the basis for stolen base percentage, so we will, too. First, we should explore the best in terms of total numbers.

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