On this date 23 years ago Cardinals outfielder Vince Coleman stole his 39th and 40th consecutive bases in a game against the Pirates to set the National League record for bags swiped without being caught.
Vincent Van Go would go on to steal 50 bases in a row before finally being nabbed July 28 in a game against the Expos.
While his success rate was incredible, Coleman was criticized at the time for worrying more about the record than about trying to produce runs for the Cardinals. Indeed, he stole 65 bases in 75 tries, his least prolific season as a base thief during his time with the Redbirds. Largely because of the frequency that he tried to steal bases, Coleman led the National League in being thrown out of the bases three of the previous four years.
Coleman would bat only .254 in 1989 with a .316 on base percentage and a .334 slugging percentage. But his base stealing ability earned him a second-consecutive All-Star Game berth.
The previous Senior Circuit stolen base mark had been set by Dodgers infielder Davey Lopes in 1975.