Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rickey Says: Great Moments in Rickey Henderson History

Recently elected to the Hall of Fame, Rickey Henderson was probably the greatest lead-off hitter and base stealer of all time. He had a phenomenal career, one that puts him in the top eschelon of players to ever step in between the chalk.

He was also a lunatic. A very funny lunatic. And from time to time, we'll recount some of the moments that made Ricky an all-time classic. Let's start with one you probably know well.

The day is May 1, 1991. Rickey Henderson is one stolen base away from passing Lou Brock's all-time stolen base record. He takes off, slides in, and the record is his. The game stops and Brock and assorted others come onto the field. Then Ricky uncorks this beauty of a speech, with Lou Brock standing right behind him:

"It took a long time, huh? [Pause for cheers] First of all, I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity. I want to thank the Haas family, the Oakland organization, the city of Oakland, and all you beautiful fans for supporting me. [Pause for cheers] Most of all, I'd like to thank my mom, my friends, and loved ones for their support. I want to give my appreciation to Tom Trebelhorn and the late Billy Martin. Billy Martin was a great manager. He was a great friend to me. I love you Billy. I wish you were here. [Pause for cheers] Lou Brock was the symbol of great base stealing. But today, I'm the greatest of all time. Thank you"

Yes you are, Rickey. Yes you are. Henderson went on to steal 468 more bases, which left him 1 shy of 50% more than Brock.

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