Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez has made a big impact so far in the playoffs with his bat and his glove, but on Saturday night, it was his baserunning that stole the show at Wrigley Field.
In the second inning of the Cubs’ Game 1 showdown against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Baez lofted a double over the infield to drive in Jason Heyward and give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. After Baez reached third base on a wild pitch, he did something that no Cubs player has done in over a century.
On a pitch from Dodgers pitcher Kent Maeda, Jon Lester started to square up to bunt. The pitch was outside of the strike zone, but because the safety squeeze was called for by Joe Maddon, Baez was well down the third base line.
Dodgers catcher Carlos Ruiz threw the ball to third base, but as soon as he let go of the ball to attempt to pick off Baez, the infielder sprinted home and was credited with a stolen base as he scored the Cubs’ third run of the game.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Baez became the first Cubs player to steal home in a postseason game since Jimmy Slangle did it in Game 4 of the 1907 World Series against the Detroit Tigers.
ESPN Stats and Info went even deeper into the numbers, as they reported that Baez is just the 19th player to ever steal home in a playoff game. To make things even more impressive, the infielder is just the sixth player to do it in a playoff game during the wild card era, which began in 1995.
Baez was largely considered to be the Cubs’ best player in the first round of the postseason, and he’s already well on his way to making a name for himself in the National League Championship Series as well.