August 1, 1990 – Alex Cole Steals Five Bases
By the first of August 1990, the Indians were eight games back of the frontrunning Blue Jays in the American League East. The the visiting Royals were dead last in the AL West, sixteen games behind Oakland, making this game…pretty much irrelevant except for the arrival of Alex Cole.
Cole made his first appearance with the Indians on July 27th, 1990. Cultivated as an outfielder with blinding speed on the basepaths, Cole was eager to prove himself at the big league level.
The Royals jumped out to an early lead against Greg Swindell when Bill Pecota doubled and then was driven home by Gerald Perry’s line drive single to center.
Alex Cole led off the bottom of the first by drawing a walk. With left fielder Mitch Webster at the plate, Cole stole second. Webster flied out, and Jerry Browne came to bat. Cole stole third. Browne knocked a double into left field, and Cole’s run tied the game.
In the bottom of the third, Cole was hit by Mark Davis’ pitch. MItch Webster popped out, and again with Jerry Browne at the plate, Cole stole second. By the third inning, he had three stolen bases without yet recording a hit.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Tribe offense got going. Tom Brookens doubled into center field to get things started. Alex Cole poked a single through the right side of the infield to score Brookens. Cole stole second and then was driven home by Mitch Webster’s double into center field. Not to be outdone, Webster stole third with Jerry Browne at the plate. Browne’s sacrifice fly plated Webster to make the score 4-1 Indians.
Cole singled to left in the bottom of the seventh, stayed put on a Webster fly-out, and then stole second with Browne at the plate. Swindell and closer Doug Jones made the 4-1 lead stand up.
Twenty-seven players have stolen five or more bases in a single game under the modern rules. Eddie Collins stole six bases for the Athletics twice in the 1916 season–a feat which was unmatched until Carl Crawford stole six for the Rays in 2009. Cole stole five bases again in Game 26 of 1992. Kenny Lofton is the only other Indian to complete the feat, in Game 133 of 2000.