Oakland's Rickey Henderson moved within one of Lou Brock's major league record of 118 stolen bases in a season today and then set an unwanted record when he was thrown out on a disputed call going for the tying steal.
It was the 39th time this season Henderson has been picked off or thrown out, breaking the record set by Ty Cobb in 1915, the year Cobb stole 96 bases.
Henderson walked to open the bottom of the first inning of Oakland's game against Detroit, which the A's won, 3-0, and stole his 116th base on the next pitch, sliding safely into second as Tigers catcher Bill Fahey's throw took one hop to the right of the bag.
After Wayne Gross walked and with Dwayne Murphy at bat, Henderson was almost picked off at second before breaking for third on a 1-1 pitch by Detroit pitcher Jerry Ujdur and sliding under Fahey's throw for steal No. 117. It was the 31st time this season Henderson has stolen two or more bases in a game.
"I thought I'd break the record," Henderson said. "I had eight innings to go.
"I'm disappointed, but it will probably be easier for me to get the record on the road." On the tag at second, he said, "I told the ump he missed the play."
In the eighth inning, the crowd of 17,098 booed when Oakland shortstop Fred Stanley walked ahead of Henderson's final at-bat.
Henderson singled on a hit-and-run play, but Stanley stopped at second.
Stanley then was picked off by Ujdur and the crowd chanted for Henderson to go for Brock's 1974 record.
Instead, Henderson was thrown out by Fahey, who was starting because strong-armed Lance Parrish was home with his pregnant wife.
Oakland Manager Billy Martin and A's center fielder Dwayne Murphy were ejected from the game by second base umpire Durwood Merrill, apparently for disputing Merrill's out call on Henderson.
"He (Merrill) thought we had Stanley deliberately picked off," said Martin. "We had a double steal on. He was stealing third base. The only way that Stanley can get it is to get a big jump.
"I said, 'Pal, he was safe; he earned it; you should be ashamed of yourself. You don't want to have him steal it here at home.' He threw Murphy out of the ball game for telling him the same thing. Rickey never got anything free. He was safe at second base without a doubt."
In commenting if Udjur's walk of Stanley was intentional or not, Martin said, "I can't answer whether they did it on purpose. Didn't that same kid walk three guys in the first inning? Only God knows."
Detroit Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson said, "All honor has left this game if Stanley isn't fined the highest figure ever. If he isn't, there is no commissioner of baseball. I'm not talking in ones and twos; I'm talking 10s and 20s. He's (Stanley) discredited this game and he is totally unforgivable. I don't even want to hear what he has to say."
The game was apparently Henderson's last chance to break Brock's record at home. The A's begin a 10-day road trip Thursday in Milwaukee.
The A's scored all three of the game's runs off Ujdur (7-7). Matt Keough (11-16) pitched his 10th complete game and second shutout, allowing six hits.