“But my mom thought I would get hurt playing football, so she chosed baseball for me. I guess mom do knows best. Thanks mom."
Rickey Henderson made the best speech in his life, at Cooperstown when he accepted his H.O.F. status.
After a long 25-year career, Rickey Henderson got elected into the baseball Hall of Fame at the first year of eligibility, at age 50. Some writers joke about one of the reasons that Rickey got so many votes at the first round is because people want him to stop thinking about going back to play once for all. His last major league game was with Dodgers at 2003. However, he did not stop trying out at spring training until couple years later.
Being the all-time leader in runs scored and stolen bases, he is the best leadoff man in baseball.
He is not famous for his choses of words. The H.O.F. induction speech is probably the first time in public that he didn’t refer himself as the third person. He is not famous for his intelligence off field either. Here are some of the stories:
• 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.”
• After Henderson was released by Red Sox, he called San Diego GM Kevin Towers and left the following message: “This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.”
• Henderson once fell asleep on an ice pack and got frostbite – which forced him to miss three games — in mid-August.
• The morning after the Sox finished off their 2004 World Series sweep against St. Louis, Henderson called someone in the organization looking for tickets to Game 6 at Fenway Park.
• Rickey was asked if he had the Garth Brooks album with Friends in Low Places and Henderson said, “Rickey doesn’t have albums. Rickey has CDs.”
• 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.”
• 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.
This one is for my statistics savvy friends:
• 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.”
Just to be fair, this is for my accounting friends:
• 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. Then he found out that Rickey was so proud of making the $1 million, he framed the check and hung it on a wall at his house.
But you know what? After I get more and more used to talking to people who love to use big words instead of being able to hit a baseball, run the bases, and score for the team, I realize I would rather being associated with people like Rickey Henderson. Or Maria Sharapova, of course.