Hall of Famer and former Blue Jays left fielder (if only for three months), Rickey Henderson, turns 61 today.
He might have only been a Blue Jays for 3 months, but it was long enough for him to earn one of his two World Series rings. He really wasn’t at the top of his game with us: In 44 regular season games he hit .215/.356/.319 with 22 stole bases and 35 walks. The .356 OBP seems pretty good, but not compared to his .401 career mark. In the playoffs, he hit .170/.316/.255 with 3 stolen bases and 2 caught stealing....but then he did get on base for Joe Carter’s series winning home run, so he can be forgiven. After the season he signed back with the A’s as a free agent.
Rickey came to us in a deadline deal. We sent Steve Karsay and Jose Herrera to Oakland in the deal. Karsay went on to have a pretty good career (though he didn’t do much for the A’s 4.97 ERA in 45 games, 36 starts, strung out over 3 seasons), becoming a workhorse out of the bullpen with Cleveland and the Yankees. Herrera played 141 games for the A’s over two seasons, hitting .264/.314/.367 with 6 home runs.
Rickey had an amazing career, with a MLB records with 1406 stolen bases and 2295 runs. Combine that with a .279/.401/.419 slash line, 297 home runs and a great glove in left field and you have the best lead off hitter ever.
He only won one MVP award, but for several years there he was one of the top players in baseball.
He also had the biggest ego in baseball too. I do love this story though:
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.
True or not I love the story.
And when he was with the Jays, he once missed three games after falling asleep on a ice pack.
So he wasn’t the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but I still would have loved if he was a Jay for more of his career.
Happy birthday, Rickey, I hope it is a good one. Poor guy, likely gets ripped off on presents. My birthday is in mid-January and my parents still didn’t do much for birthday presents, course that could be just because my parents were cheap.
Former Blue Jays coaches Marty Peavy and Bruce Walton also have birthdays today. Both turn 57. Walton lives not far from me. Happy birthday to both.