Ben Revere, 50 Steal Seasons, and Historic Efficiency

Revere has quietly put together one of baseball’s all-time most efficient base-stealing campaigns of all time. Photo AP

Since 1883, six Phillies combined to steal 50 or more bases 14 times. Some of the names are instantly recognizable by novice Phillies fans, like Juan Samuel and Ed Delahanty, some are great players seemingly lost to time, Sherry Magee and Billy Hamilton are examples of this type of player, and then there is the occasional head scratcher, a player that made the most out of his era like Ed Andrews.

With two steals yesterday, Ben Revere is just eight steals away from reaching the 50 steal mark. The last Phillie to reach 50 or more steals was Samuel in 1985, who did so while ranking fourth or higher among Major League second baseman in most statistical categories while simultaneously leading the National League in strikeouts. Revere is on pace for a similarly strange season in his own right: Revere trails the Pirates’ Josh Harrison by just two points headed into today’s game for the NL batting title and is the toughest player in the NL to strikeout but ranks just 40th out of 69 qualifying players in OBP and 52nd out of 69 qualifying players in OPS, one spot ahead of Ryan Howard.

Nevertheless, Revere could put himself in some elite company should he reach the 50 steals mark with the Phillies.

Here is a list of the top seasons in Phillies history in terms of number of steals.

Season Name SB
1891 Billy Hamilton 111
1890 Billy Hamilton 102
1887 Jim Fogarty 102
1889 Jim Fogarty 99
1894 Billy Hamilton 98
1895 Billy Hamilton 97
1984 Juan Samuel 72
1898 Ed Delahanty 58
1888 Jim Fogarty 58
1892 Billy Hamilton 57
1887 Ed Andrews 57
1886 Ed Andrews 56
1906 Sherry Magee 55
1985 Juan Samuel 53
1910 Sherry Magee 49
1905 Sherry Magee 48
1984 Von Hayes 48
2008 Jimmy Rollins 47
1895 Ed Delahanty 46
1907 Sherry Magee 46
1987 Milt Thompson 46
2001 Jimmy Rollins 46
1890 Al Myers 44
1893 Billy Hamilton 43
1887 Joe Mulvey 43
1899 Roy Thomas 42
2014 Ben Revere 42
1986 Juan Samuel 42

Since caught stealing was recorded inconsistently prior to 1950, it is tough to tell how successful some of the turn-of-the-century players were. What we can tell, however, is that there were very few Phillies to accomplish this feat after the early part of the 20th century. In fact, the Phillies went 78 years between Magee stealing 50+ in 1906 to Samuel reaching 50+ in 1984.

Revere’s potential 50 steal season, however, is shaping up to be something special on a different level. Among Phillies players with 40 or more steals since 1984, the end of a 73 year drought of 40+ steal seasons, Revere trails only Jimmy Rollins in steal success percentage:

Season Name SB CS Success Percentage
2008 Jimmy Rollins 47 3 0.94
2014 Ben Revere 42 5 0.893617021
2004 Bobby Abreu 40 5 0.888888889
2007 Jimmy Rollins 41 6 0.872340426
2005 Jimmy Rollins 41 6 0.872340426
2001 Jimmy Rollins 46 8 0.851851852
1984 Juan Samuel 72 15 0.827586207
1987 Milt Thompson 46 10 0.821428571
1984 Von Hayes 48 13 0.786885246
1986 Juan Samuel 42 14 0.75
1985 Juan Samuel 53 19 0.736111111

When narrowed down to 50+ steal seasons, Revere is on pace to be the most successful 50 SB campaign in Phillies’ history:

Season Name SB CS Success Percentage
2014 Ben Revere 42 5 0.893617021
1984 Juan Samuel 72 15 0.827586207
1985 Juan Samuel 53 19 0.736111111

And this season, Revere is among the best in quality and quantity, ranking fourth in steals in baseball with the second-best success rate among players with 25 steals or more:

Season Name SB CS Success Percentage
2014 Dee Gordon 58 15 0.794520548
2014 Billy Hamilton 55 21 0.723684211
2014 Jose Altuve 50 7 0.877192982
2014 Ben Revere 42 5 0.893617021
2014 Jacoby Ellsbury 37 5 0.880952381
2014 Carlos Gomez 29 10 0.743589744
2014 Jimmy Rollins 28 6 0.823529412
2014 Denard Span 27 5 0.84375
2014 Alcides Escobar 27 3 0.9
2014 Starling Marte 25 9 0.735294118

In fact, Revere’s quantity/quality ratio is among the best in history. Revere currently ranks 17th in stolen base success percentage among players with 42 or more steals in a season:

Season Name Team SB CS Success Percentage
2006 Ichiro Suzuki Mariners 45 2 0.957446809
2008 Jimmy Rollins Phillies 47 3 0.94
2004 Carlos Beltran – – – 42 3 0.933333333
2013 Jacoby Ellsbury Red Sox 52 4 0.928571429
1978 Davey Lopes Dodgers 45 4 0.918367347
1969 Bobby Bonds Giants 45 4 0.918367347
1979 Davey Lopes Dodgers 44 4 0.916666667
2008 Ichiro Suzuki Mariners 43 4 0.914893617
1965 Jimmy Wynn Astros 43 4 0.914893617
1980 Jerry Mumphrey Padres 52 5 0.912280702
1995 Barry Larkin Reds 51 5 0.910714286
1987 Tim Raines Expos 50 5 0.909090909
2012 Mike Trout Angels 49 5 0.907407407
2008 Willy Taveras Rockies 68 7 0.906666667
1984 Willie Wilson Royals 47 5 0.903846154
1997 Tony Womack Pirates 60 7 0.895522388
2014 Ben Revere Phillies 42 5 0.893617021

While Revere may be putting together one of the emptiest lines for any potential batting champion ever, he is also teetering around the 90% stolen base success mark while forging toward 50 steals. Among players with 50 steals or more, Jacoby Ellsbury leads the pack with a 92.86% in 56 attempts just last season. While Revere likely won’t be able to reach the heights Ellsbury did last season, he could tie the second best percentage of all time should he be able to steal ten more consecutive bases without getting caught:

Season Name Team SB CS Success Percentage
2013 Jacoby Ellsbury Red Sox 52 4 0.928571429
1980 Jerry Mumphrey Padres 52 5 0.912280702
1995 Barry Larkin Reds 51 5 0.910714286
1987 Tim Raines Expos 50 5 0.909090909
2008 Willy Taveras Rockies 68 7 0.906666667
1997 Tony Womack Pirates 60 7 0.895522388
2014 Ben Revere Phillies 42 5 0.893617021
1987 Eric Davis Reds 50 6 0.892857143
1962 Maury Wills Dodgers 104 13 0.888888889
1985 Rickey Henderson Yankees 80 10 0.888888889

And that accomplishment would put Revere into some pretty cool base-stealing company.



  1. Lefty

    September 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    If you added every positive base stolen to Revere’s slugging percentage, as if they were doubles, his OBP and OPS would not look quite so empty. That doesn’t help his weak fielding any, but it makes him a more valuable hitter.

  2. bacardipr05

    September 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Thats with a gimpy ankle and those times he was benched.

  3. psujoe

    September 3, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    If Big Ben can just keep on truckin’ and avoid the horrid start he’d be a valuable piece.

    Yasmani Thomas in LF.
    Ruff and Franco rotate at 1B.
    Asche and Franco rotate at 3rd
    Ruff subs for Thomas in LF.
    Sizemore as the 4th OF.

    No more Brown, no more Howard.

    Not great, but that team could win with a healthy Lee and this great BP!

  4. betasigmadeltashag

    September 4, 2014 at 2:49 am

    First wake up. Howard is here for the rest of his contract and he going hit .230 25 HR and. 100 RBIs. That is the production you are getting from 1st base for 130-5 games. Franco is 1-3 years away from being a MLB hitter.
    Ruff will spell Howard and be a 5th outfielder. Asche is playing third 150-160 games barring injury. Have zero idea what Thomas is going to give you. But even an outfield of Byrd Sizemore Rever is not terrible. And with help defensively in R and LF Rever’s defense will be hidden better. And he is only 23 and played a lot or RF in his past so he can get better

    • schmenkman

      September 4, 2014 at 8:09 am

      Beta, generally agree, but Revere is 26.

    • Lefty

      September 4, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Been saying that for a long time Beta, Ryan Howard is here to stay, get used to it. He gives you less than Chris Carter type production for 50 times the price, but he’s ours for the foreseeable future. I doubt they would just dump him and his salary, and frankly, I see no reason to.

      He’s gonna get paid, so get what you can out of him. He’s not a clubhouse cancer, he’s doing all the little things you want to see. Yesterday the Braves announcers pointed out how he hustled over from the on deck circle to let Revere know he didn’t have to slide at home. ( Revere slid anyway, but Howard did try) You don’t usually see that from a guy is not dedicated to trying to help his team win.

      • Chuck A.

        September 4, 2014 at 9:20 am

        Yeah, but it wouldn’t totally shock me either if they end up sending him to an AL club in the offseason. Or at least actively trying to do that. I’ve read, and not sure how valid it is, that they are giving him as much playing time as possible in order for him to reach 100 RBI to make him more “attractive” to teams in search of a DH.

      • Lefty

        September 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm

        I can’t honestly say it would totally shock me either, but I ain’t holding my breath waiting for it!

  5. phillyfan17

    September 4, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Unless the Phillies are willing to eat a huge part of Howard’s remaining contract, he is here to stay. What I don’t understand is why Howard can’t get on a exercise regimen and get his leg strength back for the final years of his contract.

    Yes, Howard’s production suddenly dropped after the Achilles and knee injuries, but a top notch diet and exercise program could at least give him back some of the leg strength that he lost. Does the guy have enough character to put himself in the best shape he can to fulfill his part of the remaining contract? Or does he even care when is collecting $50 million for the next two years regardless of how he plays. I’ve got to hope he is the kind of player that can really push himself to get to a more respectable level. I’m not saying he’ll ever get back to the elite player he was, but I certainly still believe he can be better that what we’ve seen this year. He looks like an old man out there.

    And can’t the guy learn to hit the other way if they continue to shift him? For crying out loud, start throwing the bat the other way to get on base. There’s nobody on the left side of the infield. Someone getting paid $25 million a year as a professional baseball player should be able to learn this. Am I out of line here?

    • Lefty

      September 4, 2014 at 11:28 am

      You are not asking too much as far as hitting the other way in my opinion. I coached for years and feel that I could teach him. (Id love the opportunity)
      What we don’t know is whether he already is in the best shape he can be after that type of
      surgery. And we probably never will.

    • photoFred

      September 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      I have the impression that Howard *is* hitting the other way more this season. I don’t know if that impression is correct or not but it is a strong feeling.

    • Lefty

      September 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Actually Fred, I think it’s gotten better the last two years (according to my old eyeballs)

      Perhaps Mr. Schmenkman might be kind enough to shed some statistical proof for us?

      But I think the other commenter’s point was that Howard wasn’t taking advantage of the holes on the left side in the infield. What I see is him hitting with some power, and more than a few lazy fly balls, but I believe he needs to take what the defense is giving him in terms of no 3rd baseman.

      • schmenkman

        September 4, 2014 at 5:10 pm

        This is the percentage of all balls in play, by field, from 2005 through 2014:

        LF (Opp): 14, 20, 13, 16, 12, 12, 16, 15, 15, 16
        CF (Mid): 55, 49, 52, 52, 56, 56, 49, 51, 45, 48
        RF (Pull): 30, 31, 34, 32, 32, 32, 35, 34, 40, 36

        Looks like very little increase in hitting to the opposite field overall.

      • Lefty

        September 4, 2014 at 8:00 pm

        Thank you pal.

    • betasigmadeltashag

      September 4, 2014 at 10:30 pm

      What makes think he is not on the best diet and excersise plan for his body that is possible.
      You can hold is lack of defense or inabity to lay off balls in the dirt 4 inches off the plate against him. But I don’t think you can call him out for lack of effort or sitting back and collecting a pay check. The guy puts in effort

  6. JayPhan

    September 5, 2014 at 12:48 am

    I think that is what scares me the most…that Howard is putting in the effort- that he is playing the best baseball he is capable of playing…and it just is not good enough

  7. bacardipr05

    September 5, 2014 at 12:56 am

    I actually think they will give him another year. I do believe it is possible after next year they will try and dump him off or just release him.

  8. T Martin

    September 5, 2014 at 2:41 am

    Ben Revere is not an everyday CFer for a contending team. Bad routes. No pop whatsoever. Mo’Ne has a better arm (and she might be taller). He’s a AAAA player batting title be damned.

    • schmenkman

      September 5, 2014 at 5:53 am

      Then I guess he can continue as the Phillies’ CF for a few more years until they contend again.

    • George

      September 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      At least he’s way better than BJ Upton at the plate, and Upton DOES (or did very recently) play everyday for a contending team. BJ also makes a lot more money than Revere. Having power doesn’t do much good if you don’t hit the ball anywhere.

      I’ve heard that Juan Pierre, who actually played on a World Championship team, also had no power and a worthless arm. He also got caught stealing more often.

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