‘The 40/40 Club’ – 1980’s – Card #29
Vince Coleman – 1985 Topps Traded
Very few players are able to debut in the major leagues and have the kind of attention paid to them that superstar veterans receive. And if per chance a player does get that kind of recognition, it almost always falls to a power hitting rookie that blasts home runs by the dozen or to a starting pitcher that is pitching shutout after shutout.
But, what Vince Coleman did during his rookie season of 1985 was nothing short of spectacular and he achieved stardom in an unconventional way. By the end of his rookie campaign, Vince Coleman tallied 110 stolen bases while scoring 107 runs and collecting 170 hits. 110 swipes is an amazing accomplishment, but to have a rookie so comfortable to achieve this in his very first season in the game is remarkable. This outstanding performance led to Coleman winning the Rookie of the Year award in ’85.
Coleman’s dominance on the base paths continued for the next 2 seasons as he collected 107 in 1986 and another 109 in 1987. Coleman was well on his way to becoming one of the best base stealers of all-time, with several years of playing time ahead of him. Unfortunately Vince Coleman never hit the 3-digit mark in stolen bases after the 1987 season. He was still aggressive on the base paths, but not as successful as he had been in years past. Because base stealing involves several key elements, including many that are not controlled by the runner, Coleman’s success rate remained very high but his attempts dropped off. After the 1987 season, the highest amount of bases Coleman was able to steal was 81.
Soon after the amazing begining to Vince Coleman’s career, injuries and lack of playing time crept up and began to remove the lustre on this shining star. After spending the first 6 seasons of his career with the Cardinals, Coleman spent his last 7 seven seasons with 5 teams. He was never able to secure a solid position on the teams he played for after leaving St. Louis and this one-time threat on the base paths became an ordinary player fighting for a position.
Vince Coleman retired after 13 seasons in the big leagues. He retired with a career batting average of .264 with 1,425 hits 960 strikeouts(way too many for a lead-off hitter). He has scored 849 runs and because of his speed has only grounded into 45 double plays. His 752 career stolen bases is good for 6th place all-time.