It’s not every day you get the chance to steal a major league base. For 6-year-old Oliver Richard, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
The Houston Astros “legend” – a title given to Richard by his favorite team – went viral for his theatrics during a break in between innings of Tuesday night’s game at Minute Maid Park.
While participating in a steal the base challenge, in which a young fan sprints to a dummy base and runs it back, Richard set his eyes on the real prize and rushed toward second base. After attempting to wrangle the base out of the dirt for 20 seconds – even turning to Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and shortstop Mauricio Dubón for help – Richard was redirected to the finish line in right field. Once there, the young boy was greeted by the roar of the crowd and several high fives from fellow Houston fans.
“They never told me it was a fake base,” Richard told The Athletic the day after his heroics. “So I thought they meant to go onto the actual field, steal a base and run back.”
Richard’s quick thinking and winning mentality are traits he brings to the baseball field as a player himself. The youngster showcases his speed and slugging power as a right fielder and center fielder for his local little league team in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Much of his play is mirrored after his favorite Astros players – Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.
Austin Richard, Oliver’s father, watched with pure joy from the right-field corner as his son captured the hearts of millions.
“I’m telling everybody in the stands, ‘My son’s about to steal a base!’” Austin said. “Then he takes off down the field, and everyone’s like, ‘Hey! Hey! Hey! He’s going the wrong way!’ I’m like, ‘It doesn’t even matter. Just let him run.’”
Sure enough, stadium workers let Richard run, and in return the 6-year-old displayed his blazing fast speed.
Describing his mad dash to second base, Richard said, “It’s like me seeing my best friend, and I really want to see him bad, and I go sprinting over to him and give him a big hug.”
Richard’s father couldn’t be happier.
“It was probably my proudest moment as a father,” Austin said.
Although Richard wasn’t able to remove the real second base, he was rewarded with a dummy base for his efforts. He has no intent of losing this piece of memorabilia, which he got signed by Dubón following the game.
“Indeed,” he said, “I started running with it a little bit.”