The Baseball Hall of Fame ballots are out and there's really only one player who seems certain to be inducted next summer—Rickey Henley Henderson. Rickey was one of the most ridiculous humans to ever play organized baseball, but Rickey was also one of the best all-around players ever and a constant source of entertainment—on and off the field—for an entire generation of fans. 100% Injury Rate created a list of the definitive Rickey moments; some of them true, some you just wish were true, and it is an entertaining look back. My favorites:
1) 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?”
10) 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.”
14) 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.
17) OK, I know everyone has been waiting for it. Alas, according to both parties involved, it’s not true. I wish it were. Heck, both Rickey Henderson and John Olerud have said they wish it were true. But it just didn’t happen.
The story went that a few weeks into Henderson’s stint with the Mariners, he walked up to 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.”
Classic, Rickey. Another story that I would love to add to that list, is Rickey Henderson going into the Hall of Fame as a San Diego Surf Dawg. He played his final professional season with them in one vain attempt to keep his major league career alive, and the Golden Baseball League (which the Surf Dogs won with Rickey in 2005) is offering him $1 million to chisel a Surf Dog hat on his plaque. Please accept, Rickey. Rickey is his own man, and shouldn't Rickey's plaque be better than everyone else's?