(KSDK Sports) - In 2012, the St. Louis Cardinals were not a team known as a threat to run with men on base. In fact in the National League, the Cardinals ranked 13th out of 16 teams, with a team total of 91 swipes. Of those 91, Jon Jay, the club's predominant leadoff man, stole 19.
There is room for improvement, and today the road to that improvement got underway with a trip back in time to the yesteryear of "Whitey Ball" and a special lesson in base stealing from two superstars from the 1980s who helped define that era.
Combined, Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith and teammate Willie McGee stole 932 bases during their careers. Not bad. Today they are both in Jupiter, working with the Cardinals players to get a "jump" on learning the secrets of the stolen base.
No one is saying that the Cardinals should be a 150 stolen base type club. But as Manager Mike Matheny said today, "If someone is throwing 1.5 or 1.6 time releases from the mound to the plate and we have someone who can run, we're crazy not to take advantage of it, so I want these guys prepared for it.