When a wild pitch flew by Southern Maryland Blue Crab Tony Thomas, he hesitated briefly before taking off and becoming the first player ever to steal first.
Until July 11, stealing first base was never a possibility, but after the All-Star break, four new rules were added to the partnership between Major League Baseball and the independent Atlantic League.
The Atlantic League, which consists of eight teams including the Blue Crabs of Waldorf, is a player gateway to the MLB and helps test rules before they are instituted in the MLB.
Now, with the latest round of rules, “Batters may ‘steal’ first base on any pitch not caught in flight (the batter can be thrown out if he attempts to run).”
None were brave enough to test this until Saturday, when outfielder Thomas ran on a wild pitch on an 0-1 count in a game against the Lancaster Barnstormers.
“It wasn’t something I thought about going into,” Thomas said in a video on the team’s Twitter account. “But when I saw the ball stuck underneath the backdrop, I knew he had no shot of getting me out at first base, so I took off and went.”
After making baseball history, the Blue Crabs won the game 7-2.