Sunday, August 4, 2013
Henderson Steals His Way Into Records Books
On August 3, 1989 Oakland Athletics great and Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson sets the American League record mark of 50 steals in nine consecutive seasons.
Henderson was a left fielder who played in Major League Baseball for nine teams from 1979 to 2003, including four stints with his original team, the Oakland Athletics.
Nicknamed "The Man of Steal", he is widely regarded as the sport's greatest leadoff hitter and base runner/ holding the record for most career leadoff home runs with 81, and winning three Silver Slugger awards in 1981, 1985 and 1990. His 1,406 career steals are almost double the previous record of 938 by Lou Brock, and almost 800 above the current active leader in stolen bases, Juan Pierre, who has 610.
Henderson is the all-time stolen base leader for the Oakland A’s and previously held the New York Yankees' franchise record from 1988-2011.
Henderson also holds the single-season record for stolen bases with 130 in 1982, and is the only player in AL history to steal 100 bases in a season, having done so three times.
A 12-time stolen base champion, he was also among the league's top ten base stealers in 21 different seasons.
Henderson was named the American Leagues Most Valuable Player in 1990, and he was the leadoff hitter for two World Series champions: the 1989 Oakland A's and the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays. Henderson was in the MVP conversation eight times during his career, and in the top five in voting three times.
At the time of his last major league game in 2003, the ten-time American League All-Star ranked among the sport's top 100 all-time home run hitters and was its all-time leader in base on balls.
His 25-year career elevated Henderson to the top ten in several other categories, including career at bats, games, and outfield putouts and total chances.
His high on-base percentage, power hitting, and stolen base and run totals made him one of the most dynamic players of his era.
Henderson also won a Gold Glove in 1981.
At the end of his 25-year career Henderson accumulated a .279 batting average with 3,055 hits comprised of 510 doubles, 66 triples and 297 home runs. He also added in a major league record 2,295 runs scored, 1,115 RBIs, 2,190 walks and a major league record 1,406 steals with a major league record 335 times caught stealing. Henderson struck out 1,694 times.
A dozen times Henderson led the league in stolen bases with his highest single season total coming in 1982 with 130 stolen bases, the major league record for a single season. Five times he led the league in caught stealing, with his highest single season total coming in 1982 with 42, a major league record for caught stealing in a single season.
Five times Henderson led the league in runs scored with his highest single season total coming in 1985 with 146 runs scored. Four times Henderson led the league in walks, with his highest single season total coming 1989 with 129 walks. Once Henderson led the league in hits, 1981 when he had 135 hits, however his highest single season total came in 1985 with 172, although he did not lead the league that year.
He was further known for his unquenchable passion for playing baseball and a buoyant, eccentric and quotable personality that both perplexed and entertained fans.
Once asked if he thought Henderson was a future Hall of Famer, statistician Bill James replied, "If you could split him in two, you'd have two Hall of Famers.
In 2009, he was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot appearance with 94.8 percent of the vote.
The Oakland Athletics also retired Henderson’s no. 24 jersey in 2009.