I wasn’t a huge Rickey Henderson fan growing up, probably because his greatness preceded my time and because I was too young to appreciate how colorful he was. Now that I’m older, I can truly love everything about Henderson. As a player, the guy wrote parts of the record books and is no question a Hall of Famer. Really, anyone who didn’t vote Henderson in needs his head examined. The best quote is by Bill James who says Henderson still is a lock Hall of Famer even without all the stolen bases. That’s true, meaning Henderson is a no doubter when you do add in the stolen bases. Now putting the on-field accomplishments aside, Henderson might very well be the best character in the history of the game. He might even put “Manny being Manny” to shame. Rickey was like the inventor of the athlete speaking in 3rd person trend. He was notorious for not knowing his teammates names and sometimes referred to them by position or what they did such as “Hey, knuckleballer.” And the stories about Henderson are legendary.
About a year and a half ago I presented some of the best Rickey Henderson stories ever. On the occasion of his induction into Cooperstown, I feel there is no better time than to bring these stories back. 100% Injury Rate (now with FanIQ) has a list of the greatest Rickey stories of all-time. Here are some of my favorites:
- In June 1999, when Henderson was playing with the Mets, he saw reporters running around the clubhouse before a game. He asked a teammate what was going on and he was told that Tom Robson, the team’s hitting coach, had just been fired. Henderson said, Who’s he?
- In the early 1980s, the Oakland A’s accounting department was freaking out. The books were off $1 million. After an investigation, it was determined Rickey was the reason why. The GM asked him about a $1 million bonus he had received and Rickey said instead of cashing it, he framed it and hung it on a wall at his house.
- A reporter asked Henderson if Ken Caminiti’s estimate that 50 percent of Major League players were taking steroids was accurate. His response was, “Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there.
- Rickey once asked a teammate how long of a bus ride it was for their games in the Dominican Republic.
Rickey, oh Rickey, where have you gone? And how was he not a unanimous bid to the Hall?Google+