Pierre joins rare class of base thieves

Pierre joins rare class of base thieves

LOS ANGELES -- Juan Pierre ran himself into fast company with his 36th stolen base Tuesday night.

By taking second in the bottom of the seventh without a throw from Giants catcher Bengie Molina, the Dodgers outfielder became the fourth player in Major League Baseball history to steal at least 100 bases with three different teams.

Pierre joins Tommy Harper, Brett Butler and Otis Nixon to reach three distinct century marks in a statistical category that in some ways has become a lost art. Butler did it for both the Giants and the Dodgers.

"You can look at it both ways, good and bad. It means I've bounced around a lot," Pierre said. "But it's something I pride myself on. I try to be a good baserunner and not just a basestealer. It's pretty cool, though, to be one of just four guys."

Harper amassed his first 100 stolen bases when he swiped 124 while playing in Cincinnati from 1962-67.

In the expansion year of 1969, Harper stole 73 bags for the Seattle Pilots and followed the team to Milwaukee the following year and ran his total to 136 over the next two seasons. Then with the Red Sox from 1972-74, Harper stole another 107 bases.

Butler established his basestealing credentials in his first two full seasons in Atlanta, but broke through and set his single-season high with 52 bags for the Indians in 1984. He remained in Cleveland through the 1987 season and ran his total there to 164.

The outfielder then tacked another 125 stolen bases to his resume in his three seasons in San Francisco and added 145 more from 1991-94 while playing for the Dodgers.

Nixon totaled 133 stolen bases for the Montreal Expos from 1988-90 and stole 160 bases for the Braves from 1991-93 while making his first of two World Series appearances. Then in Toronto from 1996-97, Nixon notched 101.

Pierre is the newcomer to the group but he belongs in the elite group of basestealers, especially in the power era. He stole an even 100 while playing for the Rockies from 2000-02 and then moved on to Florida, where he stole another 167 bases and earned a World Series ring with the Marlins in 2003.

After stealing 64 for the Dodgers last season, Pierre is now at 100 and counting. The left fielder recently returned from the disabled list for a left knee strain and hopes the first time he went to the DL in his nine-year career will be his last.

"The running game has diminished some but the way they're cleaning up the game, I think you'll see it start to return," Pierre said. "Home runs aren't flying out of the park as much as they were and teams will have to start creating more runs. I think people will see more teams running."

Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.