Cobb legend born on the basepaths

Originally Published: January 20, 2005
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
They just don't make exciting baserunners like they used to. But then, that's probably been true for a long, long time. Here's baseball writer Hugh Fullerton in the 1910 book, Touching Second:

It is so seldom that one who watches a couple of hundred games of baseball every season sees anything new in the base-running line that when he does it is refreshing. … Philadelphia went wild over [Eddie] Collins, who ran with execrable judgment, but got results. Billy Maloney set Chicago to talking by just such running, and led the National League one season in base-stealing. He ran wild, ran at the wrong time, ran all the time – and the showing that he and Collins made proves the wisdom of the old order to "keep the other fellows throwing." The other fellows tell "how lucky such runners are," and keep on making errors.

In other words, if only you'll keep running, you might end up with a Little League homer! (And by "Little League," I don't mean the games broadcast by ESPN from Williamsport. By "Little League," I mean the games played by fourth-graders at the elementary school down the street from your house.)

These days, the problem with "keeping the other fellows throwing" is that they generally don't keep on making errors. A century ago, though, they kept making errors for two reasons.