This day in baseball: A different kind of double steal

Photo source: Detroit Athletic Co. Blog

On 4 September 1908, Tiger second baseman Germany Schaefer became the only player in Major League history to steal the same base twice in one inning.  In the process of doing so, he also became one of two players in history to steal first base from second.  How — and why — did he accomplish this feat?  With another runner on third base, Schaefer took off from first, hoping to draw a throw to second in order to allow the other runner to score.  When the catcher did not make the throw, Schaefer decided to go in reverse and steal first, in order to position himself to try the ploy again.  Schaefer succeeded once again in stealing second, but whether or not his plan to get the runner home worked remains unclear.

This wasn’t the only time that Schaefer performed this stunt.  He apparently stole first from second again in 1911, while with the Washington Senators.  This time, opposing Chicago White Sox manager Hugh Duffy came out of the dugout in protest.  It is said that it is because of Schaefer that, in 1920, the rules of baseball were changed in order to prevent a runner from stealing bases in reverse order.

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