World Series history and 'Taco Heroes' collide in Cooperstown

Part of the BASEBALL HISTORY series

The World Series is underway, and that can only mean one thing: free tacos are on the horizon once again.

Taco Bell’s “Steal a Base Steal a Taco” promotion returns for its 10th iteration in 2021. And with the Game 1 stolen base by the Braves’ Ozzie Albies – otherwise known as the “Taco Hero” –free tacos have been secured for America.

To commemorate the 10th year of “Steal a Base Steal a Taco”, the Hall of Fame has partnered with Taco Bell® to bring the stolen base to Cooperstown, where it will go on display in the Braves’ locker within the Museum’s Your Team Today exhibit.

Taco Bell will celebrate America's “Taco Hero” and give away a free Seasoned Beef Doritos® Locos Taco for everyone in America on Nov. 4. Fans can visit tacobell.com for full details.

“Steal a Base Steal a Taco” originated in 2007 as a way of celebrating the stolen base, which has declined in numbers over the last two decades, but remains an exciting part of the game for fans. As a result, the first stolen base has quickly become a much-anticipated part of the Fall Classic every year.

“When the players are just as excited as the fans to be a part of history, you’re impacting the game in real-time and in a real way,” said Tracee Larocca, Taco Bell’s Head of Brand Creative. “Partnering with Major League Baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to send the 10th stolen base to Cooperstown and tell the story of ‘Steal a Base Steal a Taco’ is an amazing honor and a true testament to connecting America’s love of baseball and tacos like only Taco Bell can.”

The base heading to Cooperstown will join other artifacts documenting past “Taco Heroes” World Series accomplishments already recognized within the Hall of Fame’s collection.

Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury became the first to claim the title of “Taco Hero” in 2007, when he swiped second base in Game 2 of the World Series against the Rockies. Ellsbury posted a 1.188 OPS in the Series to help lead Boston to a sweep of Colorado.

The story of Ellsbury’s epic 2007 Fall Classic is told in Cooperstown through one of his bats, which he used to smack four hits, including three doubles, in Game 3, leading the Red Sox to a 10-5 victory.

In 2020, Mookie Betts became the first two-time “Taco Hero”, when he stole second in the fifth inning of Game 1 for the Dodgers against the Rays. The Dodgers would go on to win the Series in six games. Betts’ first stint as “Taco Hero” came in a Red Sox uniform in 2018, when he stole second in Game 1 of the Fall Classic against the Dodgers, which Boston would win four games to one.

Betts’ road jersey from Games 3, 4 and 5 of the 2020 Fall Classic, during which he posted an .898 OPS with two homers and 3 RBI in his first year with Los Angeles, is preserved in Cooperstown.

The Red Sox are the only team to have two different “Taco Heroes.” Over the nine previous iterations of “Steal a Base Steal a Taco”, the teams of the “Taco Heroes” are 7-2 in the Fall Classic.

Other past “Taco Heroes” represented in Cooperstown include former Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain and former Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor. Cain’s spikes from the 2015 World Series and Lindor’s spikes from the 2016 Postseason, including Games 3, 4 and 5 of the World Series, are both preserved in the Hall of Fame’s collection.

“Taco Heroes” have unlocked free tacos every year of the program except 2015, when the stolen base secured free Breakfast Crunchwraps for America to coincide with Taco Bell’s launch of breakfast.

Who will be the “Taco Hero” of 2021? Will he come from the Astros or the Braves?

We’ll soon find out – and afterward, baseball fans can celebrate with a free taco and a trip to Cooperstown to see the stolen base on display.

“In Cooperstown, we tell the stories of the game on the field and baseball’s impact on fans,” Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch said. “This program has grown in popularity, and as it enters its 10th year we are thrilled that the hundreds of thousands of fans who will visit the Museum over the next year will be able to relive the exciting World Series moment this base represents.”

Past Taco Heroes

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2007: Jacoby Ellsbury (Boston Red Sox)

• Ellsbury stole second base in the fourth inning of Game 2 against the Rockies to become the first Taco Hero in baseball history.
• Ellsbury helped lead the Red Sox to a sweep of the Rockies.

2008: Jason Bartlett (Tampa Bay Rays)

• Bartlett stole second base in the fifth inning of Game 1 against the Phillies.
• Overall, 14 bases were stolen during the five-game series, which the Phillies won.

2012: Ángel Pagán (San Francisco Giants)

• Pagán stole second base in the eighth inning of Game 2.
• Pagán’s epic steal helped the Giants sweep the Tigers for their second championship in three seasons.

2015: Lorenzo Cain (Kansas City Royals)

• Cain stole second base in the sixth inning of Game 1.
• Cain tallied four stolen bases during the World Series and the Royals defeated the Mets in five games for their first World Series title since 1985.

2016: Francisco Lindor (Cleveland Indians)

• Lindor stole second base in the first inning of Game 1.
• After stealing second, Lindor went on to score the first run of an eventual Game 1 victory for the Indians. The Indians would lose a thrilling World Series to the Cubs in seven games.

2017: Cameron Maybin (Houston Astros)

• Maybin stole second base in the 11th inning of Game 2.
• Maybin’s extra innings stolen base led to a crucial Game 2 road victory. The Astros would go on to prevail after seven intense games for their first-ever World Series victory.

2018: Mookie Betts (Boston Red Sox)

• Betts stole second base in the first inning of Game 1.
• Mookie was the first Red Sox batter up and the first to get on base, then immediately stole second on the first pitch before scoring the first run of the World Series on the next pitch. The Red Sox would go on to beat the Dodgers in five games.

2019: Trea Turner (Washington Nationals)

• Turner stole second base in the first inning of Game 1.
• Turner led off the World Series, reaching on a single and immediately stealing second on the next pitch. It was the quickest stolen base in World Series history as only three pitches had been thrown. The Nationals would go on to beat the Astros in seven games.

2020: Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers)

• Betts stole second base in the fifth inning of Game 1.
• Betts became the first two-time Taco Hero when he stole second in Game 1 of the 2020 World Series. He would go on to steal four bases throughout the Fall Classic, which the Dodgers won in six games.

2021: Ozzie Albies (Atlanta Braves)

• Albies stole second base in the first inning of Game 1.
• Albies' stolen base will go on display in the Braves locker in the Hall of Fame's Your Team Today exhibit.

Part of the BASEBALL HISTORY series