Jose Reyes' 78 stolen bases in 2007 have yet to be topped
Jose Reyes was an unstoppable force on the basepaths against the New York Yankees on June 15, 2007. In a 2-0 win over the Bronx Bombers, the New York Mets shortstop tied a season-high swiping three bags, including two off Roger Clemens. He now had 35 stolen bases over the Mets' first 65 games.
One of the greatest base thieves of his era, Reyes led the National League for the third straight season with a career-high 78 steals in 2007. The speedster stole multiple bases in 13 games and racked up 15 bases over 11 games from August 15 to August 26. Reyes added a .280 batting average and .982 fielding percentage to complement his speed, earning his second all-star appearance. It was the most swipes by a Met in a single season and the most since Marquis Grissom for the Montreal Expos in 1992.
No player in recent memory has been as effective on the basepaths as the switch-hitter was that year. Jacoby Ellsbury's 70 steals for the Boston Red Sox in 2009 was the closest anyone has come to topping the Mets' all-time stolen base leader.
Will the former NY Mets shortstop be caught?
But Reyes' record could soon be topped, thanks to bigger bases. Expanding from 15 to 18 inches in 2023, the distance from first base to second base has shrunk by 4.5 inches. With pitcher pick-off attempts also being capped to a maximum of three per runner this season, many teams have taken advantage of the shorter distances. 25 of 30 teams have stolen more bases per game than last season, including the Mets, whose rate has increased from 0.39 to 0.84.
Reyes' game-changing speed in 2007 helped add 4.1 offensive wins above replacement, just behind David Wright and Carlos Beltran for most on the team. And with his record of 78 steals still standing, the league has yet to see someone more explosive.