Game-changers on the base paths

Red Sox fans have been treated to a masterful performance by Jacoby Ellsbury in the American League Division Series. In addition to his 9 for 18 batting, including 7 runs scored, Ellsbury’s alert baserunning and base-stealing prowess has ignited the Sox offense. With his relentless and aggressive attack, Ellsbury has been a game-changer. His threat to the defense has been potent.

Jackie Robinson, for those readers too young to appreciate the legendary Brooklyn Dodger base stealer, also thrilled fans with his fearless baserunning antics. Most dramatic was his historic and bold steal of home in the first game of the 1955 World Series against the Yankees, which helped spur Brooklyn to its first World Series victory.


While acknowledging that his steals didn’t win games, he said, in a 1963 Life magazine piece, “you want to throw the book away, take chances, and shake them up with speed . . . . It gave us a new feeling of confidence.” Robinson was an electrifying base runner.

Stephen Schlein


Correction: An earlier version of this letter gave the incorrect year for the Jackie Robinson Life magazine article. The letter has been updated to note that the article ran in 1963.

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