Crawford gets 50th stolen base

Crawford gets 50th stolen base

NEW YORK -- Carl Crawford took off in the fifth inning of Wednesday night's 8-4 Devil Rays loss to the Yankees and came away with his 50th stolen base of the season.

By doing so, Crawford achieved the milestone for the third time in his career.

Fifty stolen bases is "always the goal every year," Crawford said. "I was a little disappointed last year not getting 50, so I wanted to really make sure I did it this year."

While Crawford came up short by stealing 46 in 2005, just 29 players since 1990 have had three or more 50-steal seasons and he is only the eighth player to have three 50-steal seasons by age 25, joining Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, Cesar Cedeno, Ty Cobb, Vice Coleman, Eddie Collins, and Bert Campaneris.

Since the All-Star break, Crawford is 18-for-19 in stolen base attempts.

"With him, I thought if he had not got off to such a slow start this year, he might be looking at 55 or 60 by now," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He just had a rough beginning of the season. Once he got hot, you know, a good base-stealer has to get on base to steal bases. Once he got toasty, and he started getting on base, that number really jumped."

Maddon pointed out Crawford should be stealing even more in the future once he's able to maintain a good on-base percentage throughout the year.

"He's going to steal more bases," Maddon said. "But he's going to start hitting more doubles and home runs, too. And that might detract from [the steals] in a sense. I'm just pleased with what he's doing and how he's doing it.

"It's a rare combination. I look at Johnny Damon on the other team. It's kind of like that, except Crawford is a bit younger than Johnny is now. But he's that kind of player. But I think Carl power-wise may exceed that."

Crawford said he didn't know when asked how many steals he can get this season.

"I have three weeks left right now," Crawford said. "I'm going to try and get as many as I can. I hope I can get a lot. We'll see."

Crawford had three hits Wednesday night including a double and his 17th home run of the season. Despite the fact he is a budding power hitter, Crawford said the stolen bases are the most important part of his game at this point of his career.

"Because that's my game right now, the speed," Crawford said. "That [50th stolen base] milestone is definitely the most important right now."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.