This Day in History: Rickey Hendersen breaks stolen base record. Best of Ricky Henderson
On May 1st, 1991 Rickey Henderson stole his 939th base to surpass Hall of Famer Lou Brock for the all-time record.
“Lou Brock was a great base stealer, but today, I am the greatest of all-time.”–Rickey Henderson
Rickey Henderson might be the most unintentionally funny athlete of all-time so I will use any excuse possible to do a “Best of Rickey” blog post. Here are his greatest moments and quotes in no particular order.
- 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.”
- A reporter once asked Rickey if he talked 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?”
- 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 in Toronto that had the same thing.” To which Olerud replied “Rickey…that was me.”
- 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 Rickey and asked if there was a problem with the check. Henderson said, “I’m just waiting for the money market rates to go up.”
- 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.”
- 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?”
- 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 and Rickey said instead of cashing it, he framed it and hung it on a wall at his house.
- Rickey Henderson called San Diego GM Kevin Towers and left the following message: “This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.”
- Before every game he plays, Henderson stands completely naked in front of a full length locker room mirror and says, “Rickey’s the best,” for several minutes.
- Rickey struck out and as the next batter was walking past him, he heard Henderson say, “Don’t worry, Rickey, you’re still the best.”
- The 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, Rickey emerged from the back seat.
- Rickey Henderson reportedly asked his Dominican teammates how long it would take to drive to the Dominican Republic.
- 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.”
Rickey is the best alright.
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