Long before Manny Ramirez, there was just Rickey Henderson, and Rickey being Rickey. One of the most beloved players of all-time, Henderson was known for his speed on the basepath’s and extraordinary contact, whilst having a little bit of power.
Playing for 9 different teams, the Hall of Fame journeyman is the first of many sports stars that will be covered by the Athlete’s Hub this February in honor of Black History Month. Over his career, Henderson stole 1,406 bases, the most in MLB history, while hitting 297 bombs (81 leadoff; MLB record) and recording over 3,000 Major League hits. After being drafted by the Oakland Athletic’s in 1976, Henderson went on to become one of the greatest A’s of all-time after impressing scouts with unparalleled speed. Henderson made his Major League debut in ’79, getting on base 2 times, and stealing a bag, early signs of being “The Man of Steal” From that point on, Henderson became one of the most controversial, beloved and quotable athlete’s in American History.
“Rickey being Rickey” was a loud, flamboyant athlete who you just couldn’t help to like, because he was so entertaining to watch. He jumped out at your TV screen, and then you factor in his play on the field and how exciting he was on the field, it’s just the total package.
Playing for A’s, Yankees, Blue Jays, Padres, Angels, Mets, Mariners, Red Sox and Dodgers, Henderson spent a majority of his career, split up into 4 different tenures, in Oakland. Winning a World Series with the A’s and the Blue Jays (1993), he was a 10x All-Star and Gold Glove defender, revolutionizing the role of the leadoff hitter. His best season came in 1990, when he was the World Series with Oakland. Rarely is an MVP award given to a leadoff hitter; but leading the league in stolen bases, OPS and OBP, while hitting .325 with 28 homeruns, Henderson was the key in Oakland’s Championship, and took home the hardware.
Retiring following 2003, Henderson was inducted in the 2009 Hall of Fame, his first year on the ballot. Henderson will forever be remembered for flamboyant, fun-loving attitude and his passion for the game, because that’s just “Rickey being Rickey.”
Note: All images credited to Getty Images
Jameus Mooney, Editor and Writer at The Athlete’s Hub
Follow me on Twitter: @TheJameus