Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Love for Rickey

As I've mentioned before, Rickey Henderson is my favorite baseball player of all time. He's eligible for the Hall of Fame this year. Joe Posnanski has an excellent blog post about why he should receive a vote from every Hall voter.

And think about this: Pitchers REALLY did not want to walk Rickey for all the obvious reasons. I mean, Ted Williams, sure, walking him often made sense; I suspect most pitchers did not kick themselves for walking Ted Williams. But Rickey — he was probably going to steal second on you, maybe steal third. Even if he didn’t steal, he was going to create all sorts of tension. Nobody WANTED to walk Rickey Henderson.

But they could not help it because Rickey would get in that crouch (Jim Murray wrote that his strike zone was the size of Hitler’s heart), and he would foul off pitches, and he would just WILL his way on base. Put it this way — and I’m about give you one of my all-time favorite statistics: Rickey Henderson walked 796 times in his career LEADING OFF AN INNING. Think about this again. There would be nothing, absolutely nothing, a pitcher would want to avoid more than walking Rickey Henderson to lead off an inning. And yet he walked SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY SIX times to lead off an inning.
Posnanski gives quite a bit more evidence in Rickey's favor as well. And he doesn't even include comedy.


Evil St. Louisan said...

He was alright, but Vince Coleman was THE MAN!

Brian Rules the World said...

I agree with Evil, Vince Coleman was the man, for that brief period of time he was with the Cardinals, until he bolted for more money with the Mets, saying he needed money to buy his kids shoes...

To me, Rickey Henderson is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame based on his statistics alone. Of course he's also got to contend with his legendary attitude, (the steals record "Lou Brock was great, but I'm the greatest" speech)which is only endearing in a Muhammed Ali-esque personality. But he gets added points in my book for all the third-person references to himself...

That said, there are a bunch of hilarious stories about Rickey floating around, including one about him singing along with Aretha Franklin during BP and not being able to spell "Respect"


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