Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rickey Henderson's HOF Resume

Key Stats:
  • 25 years in the major leagues
  • Played for 9 different teams, including Oakland four different times
  • Highest salary was $4.8 million for the A's in 1994
  • Holds MLB records for career steals (1,406) and runs (2,295)
  • Has never officially retired
  • On setting the career steals record: "Lou Brock was a great base stealer, but today, I am the greatest of all-time."
  • On being Nolan Ryan's 5,000th career strikeout: "It gave me no chance. He (Ryan) just blew it by me. But it's an honor. I'll have another paragraph in all the baseball books. I'm already in the books three or four times."
  • On referring to himself in the third person: "Listen, people are always saying, 'Rickey says Rickey.' But it's been blown way out of proportion. People might catch me, when they know I'm ticked off, saying, 'Rickey, what the heck are you doing, Rickey?' They say, 'Darn, Rickey, what are you saying Rickey for? Why don't you just say, 'I?' But I never did. I always said, 'Rickey,' and it became something for people to joke about."
  • On talking to himself: "Do I talk to myself? No, I just remind myself of what I'm trying to do. You know, I never answer myself so how can I be talking to myself?"
  • On holding out for a better contract from the A's: "If they want to pay me like Mike Gallego, I'll play like Gallego."
  • Overheard talking to himself after a strikeout: "Don't worry, Rickey, you're still the best."
  • Message left on Padres GM Kevin Towers' answering machine: "This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball."
  • On Ken Caminiti's estimate that 50 percent of Major League players were taking steroids: "Well, Rickey's not one of them, so that's 49 percent right there."
  • On whether he had a Garth Brooks album: "Rickey doesn't have albums. Rickey has CDs."
  • Henderson revolutionized the art of the nonchalant snatch-catch in the outfield.
  • 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 Henderson was the reason why. The GM asked him about a $1 million bonus he had received and Henderson said instead of cashing it, he framed it and hung it on a wall at his house.
  • In 1996, Henderson's first season with San Diego, he boarded the team bus and was looking for a seat. Steve Finley said, "You have tenure, sit wherever you want." Henderson looked at Finley and said, "Ten years? Ricky's been playing at least 16, 17 years."
  • Henderson once asked a teammate how long it would take him to drive to the Dominican Republic.
  • Henderson once fell asleep on an ice pack and got frostbite - which forced him to miss three games - in mid-August.
  • Henderson broke Ty Cobb's career record for runs scored with a home run. After taking his usual 45 seconds or so around the bases, Rickey slid into home plate.
  • The morning after the Boston Red Sox finished off the World Series sweep against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005, Henderson called someone in the organization looking for tickets to Game 6 at Fenway Park.
  • The New York Mets were staying in a hotel less than a mile from Cinergy Field in Cincinnati. While some players walked, most took the team bus. A few minutes after they arrived - again it was less than a mile - the last players off the bus noticed a stretched limo that had just pulled up. Of course, Henderson emerged from the back seat.
  • A few weeks into Henderson's stint with the Mariners, he walked up to John Olerud at the batting cage and asked him why he wore a batting helmet in the field. Olerud explained that he had an aneurysm at nine years old and he wore the helmet for protection. Legend goes that Henderson said, "Yeah, I used to play with a guy that had the same thing." Legend also goes that Olerud said, "That was me, Rickey." Henderson played with Olerud on the Blue Jays and the Mets.
  • In the late 1980s, the Yankees sent Henderson a six-figure bonus check. After a few months passed, an internal audit revealed the check had not been cashed. Current Yankees GM Brian Cashman - then a low-level nobody with the organization - called Henderson and asked if there was a problem with the check. Henderson said, "I'm just waiting for the money market rates to go up."
  • 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?"
  • Henderson was pulled over by a San Diego police officer for speeding. As the officer was approaching his car, the window went down a few inches and a folded $100 bill emerged. The officer let Henderson and his money head home without a ticket.
  • When he was on the Yankees in the mid-1980s, Henderson told teammates that his condo had such a great view that he could see, "The Entire State Building."
  • During one of his stays with Oakland, Henderson's locker was next to Billy Beane's. After making the team out of spring training, Beane was sent to the minors after a few months. Upon his return, about six weeks later, Henderson looked at Beane and said, "Hey, man, where have you been? Haven't seen you in awhile."
  • To this day and dating back 25 years, before every game he plays, Henderson stands completely naked in front of a full length locker room mirror and says, "Ricky's the best," for several minutes.
  • In the last week of his lone season with the Red Sox, Chairman Tom Werner asked Henderson what he would like for his 'going-away' gift. Henderson said he wasn't going anywhere, but he would like owner John Henry's Mercedes. Werner said it would be tough to get the same make and model in less than a week and Henderson said, "No, I want his car." Turns out the Sox got Henderson a Red Thunderbird and when he saw it on the field before the last game of the season, Rickey said, "Whose ugly car is on the field?"
  • Henderson and Bobby Bonilla, upset at Mets manager Bobby Valentine, played cards in the clubhouse as their team lost in Game 6 of the NLCS in 1999.