A tribute to the greatest

30 11 2007

With the weekend creeping up on me I am posting the 93rd and final blog of November. Also, since the first ever Wax Heaven post came on October 30th, this is officially the belated one-month anniversary. Woo!

This weekend I am stuck going on cruise with the wife to celebrate some person’s going-away party. Also, I have Christmas decorations to put up and shopping to do so it will probably be a pretty slow two days on Wax Heaven but never fear…we will be back and better than ever before you know it. I have a good feeling I will be picking up a hobby box of Bowman Heritage and if so, you can expect a review bright and early Monday morning.

To commemorate coming so close to 100 blogs in one month I have decided to post some of the funniest stories and quotes from the legendary, mostly in his mind, Rickey Henderson. Earlier this week I asked if Rickey’s great numbers might have been helped by Steroids but today I feel that only one man was great enough to take those records and his name Ricky. So, without further ado; Rickey stories!

1. 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.

2. 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.”

3. This one happened in Seattle. 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.”

4. Rickey once asked a teammate how long it would take him to drive to the Dominican Republic.

5. Moments after breaking Lou Brock’s stolen base record, Henderson told the crowd – with Brock mere feet next to him – “Lou Brock was a great base stealer, but today, I am the greatest of all-time.”

6. Henderson once fell asleep on an ice pack and got frostbite – which forced him to miss three games — in mid-August.

7. 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.”

8. Henderson broke Ty Cobb’s career record for runs scored with a home run. After taking his usual 45 seconds or so around the bases, Rickey slid into home plate.

9. San Diego GM Kevin Towers was trying to contact Rickey at a nearby hotel. He knew Henderson always used fake names to avoid the press, fans, etc. He was trying to think like Rickey and after several attempts; he was able to get Henderson on the phone.

Rickey had checked in under Richard Pryor.

10. 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.

11. 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?”

12. 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.”

Olerud said, “That was me, Rickey.”

Henderson played with Olerud on the Blue Jays and the Mets.

13. 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.”

14. During a contract holdout with Oakland in the early 1990s, Henderson said, “If they want to pay me like Mike Gallego, I’ll play like Gallego.”

15. 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.”

16. 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?”

17. This is my all-time favorite. Rickey was pulled over by a San Diego police officer for speeding. As the officer was approaching Rickey’s car, the window went down a few inches and a folded $100 bill emerged. The officer let Rickey and his money head home without a ticket.

18. 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.”

19. During one of his stays with Oakland, Henderson’s locker was next to Billy Beane’s. After making the team out of spring training, Beane was sent to the minors after a few months. Upon his return, about six weeks later, Henderson looked at Beane and said, “Hey, man, where have you been? Haven’t seen you in a while.”

20. 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.

21. In the last week of his lone season with the Red Sox, Chairman Tom Werner asked Henderson what he would like for his ‘going-away’ gift. Henderson said he wasn’t going anywhere, but he would like owner John Henry’s Mercedes. Werner said it would be tough to get the same make and model in less than a week and Henderson said, “No, I want his car.” Turns out the Sox got Henderson a Red Thunderbird and when he saw it on the field before the last game of the season, Rickey said, “Whose ugly car is on the field?”


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4 responses

30 11 2007
Steve G.

Great post! I always love reading Rickey Henderson stories!

30 11 2007
Dylan

Haha, #1’s the funniest.

1 12 2007
Joey

I am still laughing as I type this. You just have to love Rickey Henderson. He must have done a book report on Yogi when he was in school.

One of the first things my wife bought me that was card collecting related was three 1988 Starting Line Up figures. They were Don Mattingly, Rickey Henderson and Ruben Sierra. They still stand or in Rickey’s case slide on a shelf in front of about 20 collectible coke bottles.

13 01 2009
Ross

I loves me some Rickey. I can’t wait for his speech.

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