I grew up in the 80’s with those wonderful speed demon Cardinals teams that focused on that speed as well as pitching and defense to make up for a lack of power and capture 3 National League titles and one World Series.
Growing up in that era led me to love me some speed. I miss the days of each team having a guy who could swipe 30-40 stolen bases a season, the days of Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman, guys who basically turned a single or a walk into a double.
The game may have changed but every now and then I see a guy who gives me hope that those days aren’t dead yet. First it was Trea Turner of the Nationals (who has 40 SB this year. Keep running Trea!) and now it’s one of our own, Harrison Bader.
Our young Rookie Of The Year candidate has been awesome with his defense and solid with his bat, but the thing that excites me is that he has 15 SB while only being caught three times. He reminds of the old school lead off hitter types.
Now, I’m not advocating replacing Matt Carpenter at lead off. I’m still the same OBP freak I’ve always been and Bader’s .334 doesn’t quite cut it for the top spot in the lineup. He’s still young at 24 though, so there’s a chance he can turn that .334 into a .360 or .370 or higher. At that point, I’d be comfortable putting him up there and sliding Carpenter into the #2 spot in the lineup.
Of course, if you’re gonna put him up there, it’s partly to let him run. I can easily see him stealing 40 or more bags a season. The question is will the Cards let him run? They’ve turned into a bit of a homer happy team lately, so I’m not sure.
I hope they do, as I long for the old days of Ozzie, Willie and Vince, and Bader gives me a glimpse of that.
As always, thanks for reading.