06/15/08 7:18 PM ET
Ellsbury sets club rookie steals record
First-inning theft moves outfielder past McConnell's 1908 mark
By Mike Petraglia / Special to MLB.com
Ellsbury slapped a single to left field in the first inning and stole second base on the first pitch from Homer Bailey to Dustin Pedroia, giving Ellsbury 32 steals, one more than Amby McConnell had in 1908.
"It's pretty neat, a 100-year-old record with the Red Sox, the tradition, to break a record like that is pretty special," said Ellsbury after the Red Sox's 9-0 victory over the Reds.
Showing he wasn't about to sit on the total, the 24-year-old speedster took off for third and made it easily, giving him a Major League-best 33. Ellsbury scored the first Red Sox run on Pedroia's sacrifice fly to right.
"His legs come into play, steal second, steal third," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He's a smart baserunner, an aggressive baserunner and he changes the game. The things that bother us, he's doing that to other teams."
Asked if he has his sights on passing Tommy Harper's club mark of 54 set in 1973 and making a run at 60, Ellsbury was hopeful.
"Sixty? I hope I get 60," Ellsbury said. "It just depends on the situations. I let the game dictate what's going to happen. The numbers, I let them pile up, and at the end of the year, I look at them and look at them from there."
With the two successful attempts, Ellsbury improved to 33-for-36 on the season.
"I try to get as many as I can, but with stealing bases, you have to get on base. And the reason you steal bases is to get in scoring position and score runs," Ellsbury said. "They have a lot more trust in me. You have to earn the trust and show them you can make the right decisions and steal at a high success rate. I could steal more bases, no question, but we want to make them quality attempts."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.