Every now and then, blog managers are asked to write an article centered around a specific topic. This time around, we were asked to write about 'filthy' players or plays. Not in the negative, beanballing/take-out sliding sense, but the positive sense -- the 'filthiest' pitches, or players who like to get down and dirty.
I thought that would be an easy thing to write, because I could just talk about how great Carlos Gomez is. Few players put in as much effort as he seems to in every play, and rarely does a game end where he doesn't cover his uniform in dirt.
Alas, Carlos Gomez was traded, and now I can't really write about him anymore, now can I? Instead, how about we talk about a play guaranteed to get the uniform dirty: The stolen base. The Brewers haven't really often been a team filled with elite base-stealers, but they've had some good ones.
So here's a look at the five best base stealers in Brewers history by wSB (weighted stolen bases). This measure shows not just the bulk measure of stolen bases, but the value of them as well. You generally want at least a 70% success rate to gain positive value from stealing bags, and this measure takes that into account.
1. Paul Molitor - 412 SB, 115 CS, 35.3 wSB
The best base stealer in Brewers history by most measures. Molitor has by far the most stolen bases in Brewers history, as well as a wSB more than twice that of any other player. Molitor rankes 37th all-time in the majors for total stolen bases and 23rd all-time by wSB.
Molitor stole three stolen bases in a game on six occasions, but never reached four or more. His best years came in 1982 and 1983 when he stole 41 stolen bases both years with fewer than 10 caught stealings. Molitor only hit 20+ home runs once (never as a Brewer) and averaged just over 10 long balls a year. Certainly not the prototypical DH/CI you would see anymore!
2. Carlos Gomez - 152 SB, 36 CS, 14.4 wSB
I wonder if Gomez might have been a threat to Molitor's record had Gomez remained a Brewers player for the remainder of his career. From 2012-2014 -- just three years -- Gomez had 111 of his 152 career steals, an average of 37 a season. Molitor averaged 34 a year with the Brewers.
Of course, Gomez was seeing heavily reduced steals numbers in 2015, swiping just seven bags with Milwaukee. That led to some curiosity of whether he was hampered by injury, but four steals since being dealt to the Astros leads me to believe him stealing more bases was more of an organizational decision.
And, of course, Gomez stole second base to set this up:
3. Tommy Harper - 136 SB, 37 CS, 13.6 wSB
Harper was a member of the Seattle Pilots in the franchise's first year in 1969 and immediately made an impact, leading the league with 73 stolen bases. He'd go on to steal 38 and 25 bags in two more years with the organization after they became the Brewers before moving on to Boston where he would lead the league in steals again.
Harper's career year came in 1970 when, along with 38 steals, he had 31 home runs and hit .296/.377/.522, good enough for a sixth-place finish in MVP voting. Harper's time with the Brewers was brief, but he was the star in the early days of the organization and remains one of the best base-stealers in franchise history.
4. Scott Podsednik - 113 SB, 23 CS, 12.4 wSB
With Doug Melvin moving on from general manager, it's nice to remember one of his earliest great moves. Podsednik had been in the Rangers' minors originally before being traded to the Mariners and getting brief major league opportunities but mostly lingering in Triple-A and being placed on waivers. Doug Melvin and the Brewers took a chance on Podsednik off waivers.
The result? Immediate success -- a .314/.379/.443 line with 43 steals in 2003. The next year, a league-leading 73 stolen bags with just 13 times being caught.
The Brewers parlayed that second season into a deal with the White Sox for slugger Carlos Lee, but for two seasons, Podsednik set the basepaths on fire in Milwaukee. Despite such a short time with the team, he's still eighth all-time in franchise history for steals.
5. Robin Yount - 271 SB, 105 CS, 11.6 wSB
Was there anything Young couldn't do? Still the franchise leader in home runs, a great defensive player, an on-base machine at his peak, and a two-time MVP, it's easy sometimes to forget that Yount wasn't too shabby on the basepaths either, and is second only to Molitor for the most stolen bases in franchise history.
Of course, Yount's total numbers are more due to his longevity (20 seasons, all with Milwaukee) than individual great seasons. But at his peaks, he could steal 20 bags in a year which is nothing to sniffle over. His best year came in 1988 when, as a 32 year old he grabbed 22 extra bases while being caught just four times.
Robin Yount is maybe the most beloved Brewers player of all time. Stolen bases added to that, and he remains the fifth most-effective base stealer in franchise history.
As the official washer and dryer of MLB, Maytag brand is searching for the "Filthiest Plays of the Week." Starting August 3rd ball players of any level can upload a picture or video of their "filthy play" using #MyFilthiestPlay for a chance to win a trip to the World Series plus a Maytag brand Top Load Washer and Dryer pair1. Baseball fans have the power to vote for their favorite filthy play each week atMLB.com/Maytag.Follow Maytag on Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date with the newest and filthiest plays.