Baseball is part of America’s past-time. It’s a sport you can enjoy over American summers as families, friends, and loved ones gather to cheer on their Little Leaguer (shout out to Michigan winning this year’s Little League World Series), their high school pitcher, their minor league slugger, or their major league pitcher. Each player on the field has a crucial role in their team’s success. From the nine in the batting order the manager pencils into the bullpen to the starting pitcher, everyone has the strength to contribute.
In this case, we’ll be looking at the players whose strength is: running. And stealing bases would be a great indicator of this. When your manager calls on you to steal a base, he probably knows your gifting includes speed and wants to be able to utilize that speed to help get the team in scoring position. Because, hey, if we even think deeply about all this, the whole objective of a baseball game is to pile up more…runs…than the other team.
So, you wanna get more runs? It may be helpful to have some actual runners on your team.
Let’s call for a stolen base here and take a shot at who some of the fastest players to ever play the game are. And the stat we’ll be looking at solely for this particular article is stolen bases. The stats on this are according to Baseball-Reference. Also, will be including some of today’s speedsters that you’ll see sprinkled in throughout the article, as well. The modern-day analytics stat of “sprint speeds” recorded for these players are according to Baseball Savant.
Here are 25 of the Fastest MLB Players Ever
25 – Juan Pierre
What a great way to start off this list by sliding into second, which is what Juan Pierre did here and multiple times throughout his career becoming one of the best to steal bases of all time with a total of 614.
24 – Leody Taveras
Leody, Texas Ranger (Walker Texas Ranger reference). The MLB club is happy to have a dude who can fly on the base paths. Taveras has a sprint speed of 30 feet/second so far in the 2021 season.
23 – George Davis
With 619 career stolen bases, this Hall of Famer could probably run with the best of ’em as he played in the league from 1890 to 1909 (per Baseball Reference).
22 – Roman Quinn
Let’s also not forget that being fast also helps your team out on…defense. And as you know, defense wins championships. Quinn was out here trying to help his team win one by diving to make that catch and also on the base paths as he’s clocked in with a sprint speed at 30 feet/second so far this season.
21 – Otis Nixon
Another one. And this time, it was Nixon’s speed that’d help get him to that outfield wall to leap and make the catch. Nixon also got it done on the base paths, as well, totaling 620 stolen bases throughout his career.
20 – Derek Hill
Derek Hill this season has a sprint speed of 30.1 feet/second and he’s also been making plays in the outfield for that Detroit Tigers team that the league better watch out for. They’ve been piling up wins and look to be on a nice rebuilding track to make some noise in the playoffs in the near future potentially.
19 – Kenny Lofton
Lofton’s career stolen base total was 622. The center fielder was also a four-time Gold Glove winner (per Baseball Reference). So, therein lies another subcategory we’re seeing on this list: speedy defenders.
18 – Bert Campaneris
Career stolen bases: 649. You know that as a three-time World Series champion (per Baseball Reference), his acumen and expertise in stealing bases had to play a part in helping his teams win the World Series.
17 – Tom Brown
Going back to 1882 was when Brown’s rookie year was as this outfielder born in Liverpool, United Kingdom (per Baseball Reference) did his thing in the MLB, utilizing his apparent speed as he’d total 658 career stolen bases
16 – Willie Wilson
Willie Wilson. What a name. 668 total stolen bases. What a career. A career that also included a World Series win, two silver sluggers, a gold glove, and a batting title (per Baseball Reference).
15 – Jorge Mateo
This MLB season, Mateo is one of the fastest players with a sprint speed of 30.4 ft/sec. When it comes to stealing the base, he’s got ten so far in his short two-year career thus far. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more of those in his career if his manager(s) want to include a lot of base-stealing in their game plans, especially with that speed!
14 – Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner is a baseball name. If you’re a baseball aficionado or even a casual fan, you’ve probably heard of Wagner. Wagner was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, was a 1909 World Series champion, and won the batting title eight times (per Baseball Reference). I’ll repeat that: an 8-time batting title champ. So, this is proof that on this list and in general, you can steal bases with the best of ’em and also hit the ball exceptionally. It can also help in turning maybe a routine single into a double. In case you were curious, Wagner had 643 career doubles per Baseball Reference.
13 – Max Carey
The Hall of Famer and 1925 World Series champion (according to Baseball Reference) would become one of the best base stealers ever to play in the MLB with 738 career stolen bases.
12 – Eddie Collins
741 career stolen bases. Oh, and you know just casually add a MVP, four World Series titles, and a Hall of Fame nod (per Baseball Reference), Collins could flat out play the game which, of course, includes running the bases.
11 – Eli White
Eli White can flat out run. Clocking in at a sprint speed of 30.5 feet/second, White is literally one of the fastest dudes in the game being in the 100th percentile of all current MLB players when it comes to sprint speed according to Baseball Savant.
The speedster per his Instagram bio: “Follower of Christ…Clemson University…Texas Rangers Organization”.
10 – Arlie Latham
Arlie. Another great name. Actually, now that I think about it, no wonder I think it’s a great name. It’s ‘Charlie’ just without the ‘C’ and ‘h’. I should ask my wife to start calling me ‘Arlie’. Just kidding. In all seriousness, when it comes to Arlie Latham’s speed, he stole the seventh most stolen bases of all time in the majors with 742. According to Baseball Reference, the third baseman is also a 1886 World Series champion.
And you have to check out this epic story about Arlie.
9 – Vince Coleman
Coleman had 752 total career stolen bases. Per Baseball Reference, he was also a Rookie of the Year and two-time All Star.
“God only knows how big your heart is and how big your body is going to grow,” Coleman said according to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. “So don’t give up. That’s my message to all the young kids out there. Be prepared for your opportunity. You may have only one chance to showcase your skills.”
Per the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, “Coleman made the most of his chance, rocketing to No. 6 among baseball’s all-time steals list and becoming one of only four ever to steal 100 bases in a season.”
And check out this fun fact (per MLB.com’s Will Leitch): “When you’re as fast as Coleman was, everyone expects you to play football, and he did, but not in the way you’d expect. He was a kicker and a punter at Florida A&M, just like his cousin Greg Coleman, who punted in the NFL for more than a decade. Vince Coleman actually once kicked a game-winning field goal for his Rattlers against heavily favored Miami (Fla.) in 1979“.
8 – Tim Raines
Now we’re getting into the 800+ mark of steals by major leaguers and Raines had a career total of 808. No 808’s and heartbreak here, it’s just straight up baseball accolades on accolades in Raines’ career. Hall of Fame, seven-time All Star, a Silver Slugger, a batting title champion, an All Star Game MVP (per Baseball Reference), and three-time World champion (per his Twitter bio).
Are you seeing a common theme here on this list? If you run the bases, you may just help your team run towards a World Series title.
7 – Trea Turner
Trea Turner is technically currently the second-fastest player in the MLB right now, clocking in at a sprint speed of 30.6 feet per second. Just think about that for a second. Being able to cover over 30 feet in one second. That’s fast. And I’m sure the LA Dodgers appreciate his speed on the base paths as they look to take home another World Series title this season.
6 – Joe Morgan
Joe Morgan was one of the best baseball players ever, not just one of the fastest. Check this out (per Baseball Reference): Hall of Famer, two-time MVP, 10-time All Star, two-time World Series champion, five-time Gold Glove winner, one-time silver slugger, add in an All-Star MVP and two-time TSN Major League Player of the year. Oh and those stolen bases for this second baseman? 689 total.
5 – Ty Cobb
Ty Cobb: 897 total stolen bases in his career. That’s good for fourth all-time. Cobb could not only run but he could hit! The Hall of Famer won the batting title 12 times (per Baseball Reference). Let me say that again. Twelve times! That’s a dozen! It takes work to just order your dozen bagels for the office or the church in the morning. Think about how much work it took to maintain that consistency to win it a dozen times. You know, just a causal dozen times being the best hitter in the majors that year.
4 (Tie) – Billy Hamilton
When you’re running so fast your helmet flies off, yeah that’s fast. The Chicago White Sox centerfielder’s got 313 stolen bases so far in his career and is probably on pace (pun intended) to have even more throughout his career with nine years in the majors under his belt.
4 (tie) – Billy Hamilton
No, this isn’t a typo. No, you’re not having a dejá vu. No, you didn’t go crazy. This is serious. You’re still IRL. Not to be confused with the above Billy Hamilton, there was another Billy Hamilton who just so happened to be one of the best players to steal a base ever. Hamilton had 914 career stolen bases, good for third all-time in the majors. It’s a good reason his nickname was “Sliding Billy” then (per The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum).
This Billy Hamilton was also an outfielder and played from 1888-1901, also winning a batting title and was inducted into the Hall of Fame (per Baseball Reference).
3 – Lou Brock
Lou Brock is also a classic baseball name. You hear Lou Brock and baseball probably comes to mind. Second all-time in the majors in stolen bases with 938, Brock is also a Hall of Famer, two-time World Series champion, and six-time All Star (per Baseball Reference).
2 – Tim Locastro
Have to include the fastest dude in major league baseball today. Clocking in at a whopping 30.7 feet/second, Locastro is wheeling around the bases for the New York Yankees who (hello, Dodgers, Rays, White Sox, Astros, A’s, Mariners, Braves, Brewers, Giants, and more teams per MLB’s standings) also have their eyes on a title this year.
Locastro’s on the Injured 60-day list per the MLB but he’ll probably be back in no time doing what Locastro does back. You know, no big deal, just being the fastest player in the game.
There’s even a video on the internet (YouTube Made the Cut channel) of Tim’s speed. And his cleats are already in the Hall of Fame in large because of that speed as, according to CBS Sports’ Katherine Acquavella in April 2021, “Diamondbacks speedster Tim Locastro set…(the) MLB stolen base record with 28th swiped bag…Locastro’s cleats are headed to Cooperstown after his 28th successful steal in a row to start his career”.
All the best, Tim! God bless in this recovery!
1 – Rickey Henderson
LAdies and gentlemen, coming in at the top of this list and the literal top of the MLB all-time steals list by a…landslide…is Rickey Henderson! With 1,406 total steals, he not only is the MLB all-time steals leader, he’s leading by a whole lot. The only player in MLB history with more than 1,000 steals, let me repeat that number again: 1,406. That’s a lot of times hustling to get to another bag to help your team win. That’s top speed-deserving IMO.
And guys, check this out: Hall of Famer, MVP, 10-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion, Gold Glover, three-time Silver Slugger, ALCS MVP (per Baseball Reference).
Henderson did his thing in his stellar 25-year MLB career, becoming not only one of the fastest players ever but one of the best baseball players the game has seen.
There you have it, people! A list of the 25 fastest MLB players ever. Hope you enjoyed it! Now, go have yourself an amazing day, hustling to get your dreams (the right way, of course, hello!) and never giving up.
Charlie Lapastora is a sports/news multimedia journalist who’s reported, written, produced, anchored, shot video/edited on different NBC, ABC, and FOX shows in multiple TV markets, along with digital & new media companies. Charlie has traveled the country telling national sports, news, feature, and original stories on a cable news network, airing on top 10 TV markets, satellite radio, and digital platforms. He is passionate about his faith, family—being a husband to whom he calls the G.O.A.T. of women—about reppin’ his home state of Michigan and Detroit teams (yes, including the Lions), good coffee, and loves how sports brings people together. He’s traveled the world leading and coaching sports camps and has also worked at the Detroit Pistons and LA Clippers’ NBA teams.
- 1 Here are 25 of the Fastest MLB Players Ever
- 2 25 – Juan Pierre
- 3 24 – Leody Taveras
- 4 23 – George Davis
- 5 22 – Roman Quinn
- 6 21 – Otis Nixon
- 7 20 – Derek Hill
- 8 19 – Kenny Lofton
- 9 18 – Bert Campaneris
- 10 17 – Tom Brown
- 11 16 – Willie Wilson
- 12 15 – Jorge Mateo
- 13 14 – Honus Wagner
- 14 13 – Max Carey
- 15 12 – Eddie Collins
- 16 11 – Eli White
- 17 10 – Arlie Latham
- 18 9 – Vince Coleman
- 19 8 – Tim Raines
- 20 7 – Trea Turner
- 21 6 – Joe Morgan
- 22 5 – Ty Cobb
- 23 4 (Tie) – Billy Hamilton
- 24 4 (tie) – Billy Hamilton
- 25 3 – Lou Brock
- 26 2 – Tim Locastro
- 27 1 – Rickey Henderson
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