Can You Steal 1st Base?

One of the most exciting plays in baseball is the steal of 1st base. It can be a thrilling moment for the crowd, and a huge momentum swing for the team attempting the steal. But can a runner actually steal 1st base? The answer is yes, but it’s not a straightforward process.

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Baseball’s Rules on Stealing

Firstly, let’s take a look at the rules of baseball regarding stealing. According to the MLB’s official rule book, runners are allowed to steal bases, but only after the ball has been hit by the batter. This means that if the runner attempts to steal before the ball is put into play, they will be called out.

Furthermore, the rulebook states that a runner is only allowed to advance to the next base once the pitcher has released the ball. This means that a runner cannot attempt to steal 1st base until the pitcher has thrown the ball.

The Process of Stealing 1st Base

So, how does a runner actually steal 1st base? The process involves three main components: timing, speed, and deception.


The key to a successful steal of 1st base is timing. The runner must time their steal attempt perfectly so that they can make it to 1st base before the pitcher can throw the ball. This requires a great deal of focus and concentration, as the runner needs to be aware of the pitcher’s movements and anticipate when they will release the ball.


Of course, timing is only half of the equation. To actually steal 1st base, the runner must also have the speed to make it to the base. This means that they must reach their maximum running speed as quickly as possible so they can beat the ball to the base.

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Finally, the runner must use deception to make the steal successful. This involves distracting the pitcher and the infielders so they don’t see the runner’s movements. This could involve the runner suddenly changing direction, or making a false start, or any other move that could throw the pitcher off their game.

Examples of Stealing 1st Base

There have been a few successful steals of 1st base in MLB history. Perhaps the most famous example was when Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Davey Lopes stole 1st base against the San Diego Padres in 1982. The steal was part of a bigger play that ultimately resulted in the Dodgers scoring three runs.

Another notable example of a steal of 1st base was in the 2017 World Series, when Houston Astros outfielder Cameron Maybin successfully stole 1st base against the Los Angeles Dodgers. This steal was part of a bigger play that eventually resulted in the Astros winning the game and the series.


In conclusion, it is possible for a runner to steal 1st base in a baseball game. However, it is not an easy task and requires a great deal of timing, speed, and deception in order to be successful. There have only been a handful of successful steals of 1st base in MLB history, but this does not mean it cannot be done. With the right preparation and practice, a runner can attempt to steal 1st base and potentially turn the tide of a game.