Richards played for eight seasons in the majors, hitting .290 with 247 stolen bases, while playing mostly for the San Diego Padres from 1977-1984. Richards hit .290 for the Padres as a rookie. He stole 56 bases that season and finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year vote. He hit .308 the next year while scoring 90 runs. In 1980 he enjoyed what was probably the best year of his career. He hit .301 that season with 61 stolen bases, 193 hits and 91 runs scored. Richards finished 22nd in the NL MVP vote at the end of the season. He led the National League in triples (12) in 1981. He continued to post solid numbers for the Padres through the 1983 season. He joined the San Francisco Giants as a free agent in 1984 and hit .252 in 87 games. He retired following the season.
Richard’s 56 stolen bases as a rookie was a record at the time, passing Rollie Zelder and Sonny Jackson, who each stole 49. His record was later broken by Tim Raines, who swiped 71 bases as a rookie in 1981.
Following his playing career, Richards had a long run as a coach and manager in the minor leagues.
Gene Richards – career stats