Jacoby Ellsbury has had a relatively slow start to the 2016 season, but pulled off one of baseball’s toughest achievements on Friday, recording a straight steal of home against Matt Moore and the Tampa Bay Rays.
— MLB (@MLB) April 23, 2016
While not unprecedented, this is one of the rarest plays in baseball. Steals of home are even more rare now in the era of advanced stats, which tend to place little value on steals of any kind.
Ellsbury’s steal of home is also the first against the Rays in their near 20-year history.
While playing against the New York Yankees with the Boston Red Sox, Ellsbury had previously stolen home against lefty Andy Pettitte.
There, he described his mindset to Jack Curry of the New York Times.
“The biggest thing is getting the courage to go, I guess,” Ellsbury said. “In that situation, bases loaded, you’ve got to make it. It could be one of the worst base-running mistakes if you don’t make it, but I was pretty confident that I could get in there.”
Ellsbury’s steal of home on Friday was a fantastic play in a great game that he didn’t even start. After replacing Aaron Hicks, Ellsbury went two-for-three. His steal of home tied the game at three, while a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth gave New York a comfortable 6-3 lead en route to the win.
It seems pretty clear who the player of the game was here.