It’s been over 15 years since he made his major league debut, but John Lackey is still finding new ways to experience the game of baseball.
The Cubs starter was cruising along nicely — one earned run, three strikeouts — during Wednesday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds when he came to bat in the bottom of the fourth inning. A .110/.137/.141 for his career, Lackey defied the odds and slashed a single to center field, giving Chicago its first base-runner of the inning.
No one would ever mistake Lackey for a speedy baserunner, but the Cubs, sitting on a four-run lead, decided to take a gamble. They gave the 38-year-old hurler the green light to steal, and he delivered, sliding in before Reds shortstop Zack Cozart could apply the tag. It was the first stolen base of Lackey’s long career.
Take a look at the improbable career milestone:
Of course, the play wouldn’t have happened without some prodding from Cubs first base coach Brandon Hyde, to which Lackey had a perfect response.
The steal appeared to be the end of Lackey’s base-running odyssey, but instead, he got greedy. Just a few minutes later, the Texan was picked off while trying to steal third base, bringing an end to one of the most surreal innings of his career.
Watch him getting caught in the act:
Lackey was pleased about picking up his first steal, and he seemed to have a healthy perspective on being picked off so soon after.
“I made two bets,” he said after the game, according to the Chicago Tribune. “One worked, one didn’t. It was a 3-2 pitch with  MVP [Kris Bryant] on deck. I was betting on a strike and a swing. I was trying to score.”
Lackey didn’t reach base again in the Cubs’ 7-6 win.
First base coach Brandon Hyde asked John Lackey if he wanted to steal a base: “Heck no, I’m tired.” Then he did.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 17, 2017
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