Brewers record that will likely never be broken #2
Stolen Bases – single season
Record: 1969 – Tommy Harper – 73 stolen bases
Talk about a record that has already withstood the test of time. Tommy Harper set the single season franchise record for stolen bases in the first year of the franchise, which was actually when they were still the Seattle Pilots. Yet, the record counts and stands as a Brewers franchise record.
There were some close calls over the years. Scott Podsednik came closest to breaking the record in 2004 with 70 stolen bases, but he came up just short. It speaks to how incredible Harper was back in the day.
Again, the way the game of baseball has been trending in recent years has led to a downturn in the number of stolen bases. Teams have prioritized catcher defense and throwing out would-be base-stealers while running less often themselves, relying on base hits to move the runners over.
In 2021, the Brewers only had three players with double digit stolen bases. 35 year old Lorenzo Cain led the way with 13. Not even close to Harper.
The Brewers don’t have any real burners on the base paths on their roster and haven’t been super aggressive in stealing bases much recently. Christian Yelich, when he’s right, can be a threat to steal 30 bases in a season, but he’s never going to be sent often enough to steal 74 bases in a season and break the record.
Milwaukee also doesn’t really have any true big stolen base threats in the minors anymore. David Hamilton was probably the best candidate to break the franchise stolen base record, but he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Hunter Renfroe just before the lockout began.
The demand for speedsters who can steal 70 bases in a season just isn’t there anymore, and because the demand isn’t there, the supply isn’t there. If there’s no supply of players who have the ability to break this record, it’s likely to remain unbroken for a very, very long time.
Tommy Harper set the bar high in 1969, and no one has been able to top him since, and maybe no one ever will.