This Day In History: Rickey Henderson Made MLB Debut
On this day in 1979 the Oakland A’s played a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers. Texas would sweep the days games behind strong pitching performances by John Henry Johnson and Doc Medich. However that doubleheader had a significant moment in game 1. Little did pitcher John Johnson and catcher Jim Sundberg know that the rookie leadoff man Rickey Henderson would steal his first of 1406 bases against them that game.
Did you know that while on Oakland, Rickey once led the league in steals (66) and walks (118)? That probably isn’t news however the weird thing it that it was his 4th stint with Oakland and he was 39 years old.
The “man of steal” is first in stolen bases, and it is one of those records that you can see never being broken. Guys don’t steal now like they used to. Rickey’s 1406 is 468 more than the Lou Brock at 938. To put that into perspective, his LEAD of 468 is more than Ichiro Suzuki’s total career steals (463). For your knowledge the active leader is Juan Pierre at 609.
He won the MVP in 1990 with an amazing year however I consider his 1985 year with the Yankees his finest. Let’s take a look at the 2 years.
1985 – 143 games, 146 runs, 24 hr, 72 rbi, 80 sb, 10 cs, .314 avg .419 obp
1990 – 136 games, 119 runs, 28 hr, 61 rbi, 65 sb, 10 cs, .325 avg, .439 obp
Both very impressive seasons but to score over a run a game is astounding. He scored 146 times and taking out batting himself in he knocked in another 48 for 194 runs scored or batted in from the leadoff position.
He led the league in steals 12 times.
He led the league in being caught 5 times.
He led the league in runs scored 5 times.
He led the league in walks 4 times.
He led in OBP once and has one MVP award with 5 top tens in MVP voting.
He is the career leader in runs scored at 2295 with AROD at 1898, and Jeter at 1868, after than no one is even close so that is another record we can still see 50 years from now still standing.
He is second all time in walks to Barry Bonds.
Rickey was a legend in baseball and a joy to watch. Will we ever see anything like him again? Gosh I hope so!