Ian Kinsler stealing his record-tying 162nd base (7/13/2013); click photo to see video

Ian Kinsler stealing his record-tying 162nd base (7/13/2013); click photo to see video

By Scott Barancik, editor

The Eighth Commandment orders us not to steal. For Ian Kinsler, we make an exception.

When the 31-year-old Texas Ranger singled and stole second base uncontested in the 9th inning of Saturday’s win over the Detroit Tigers (see video), it was the 162nd theft of his felonious 8-year career. Rangers number-crunchers celebrated: the steal made Kinsler the team’s all-time leader, just ahead of Bump Wills‘ 161.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the swivel-hipped star is the son of a prison warden.

Saturday’s theft also left Kinsler tied with retired slugger Shawn Green for the career record among another tribe of players: Jews.

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Kinsler’s base-stealing prowess is well-documented. One of only a dozen players in MLB history to twice hit 30 HRs and steal 30 bases in the same season (2009, 2011), the second baseman has stalked the career record with remarkable efficiency, reaching base safely 81.4 percent of the time.

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He also has been consistent, stealing bases within a narrow range of 11 to 31 per season (see below).

2006 TEX 423 14 55 11 4
2007 TEX 483 20 61 23 2
2008 TEX 518 18 71 26 2
2009 TEX 566 31 86 31 5
2010 TEX 391 9 45 15 5
2011 TEX 620 32 77 30 4
2012 TEX 655 19 72 21 9
2013 TEX 270 9 36 5 6
8 Yrs 3926 152 503 162 37
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/18/2013.

Yet Kinsler’s crowning  comes at the nadir of his base-stealing arc. His 5 stolen bases in 307 at-bats this season are a career low. He’s been caught stealing 6 times so far in 2013, tying him for most in the American League. This dismal performance has been enough to knock him down from 10th on the all-time list of best career base-stealing percentages in MLB history at the start of 2013 (among players with 100+ thefts) to 26th today.

“I’ve got to keep running,” Kinsler recently told the Dallas Morning News. “My timing is a little off, and I really haven’t had many chances to go on a straight steal. Mostly they’ve been busted hit-and-runs or running with two strikes. My mentality isn’t quite there yet.”

If history is any guide, Kinsler will return to form soon. And when he steals his record-breaking 163rd, we’ll be there to cheer.

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