Rickey Henderson enters the Baseball Hall of Fame

The only question about Rickey Henderson entering the Baseball Hall of Fame is whether the engraver can catch him to record his image on his bronze enshrinement plaque. Henderson was the ultimate leadoff hitter in his brilliant career, stealing more bases than anyone in the history of the game.

I was lucky enough to be at County Stadium in Milwaukee during the summer of 1982 on the night he tied Lou Brock’s single-season stolen base record. I was running film for the Associated Press photo crew that night. Henderson wasn’t able to break the record that evening, and I was all charged up to go back the next night, which happened to be my 26th birthday. But the boss said no, they had enough help. I was crushed, and left the bureau in a foul mood. When I arrived home, I walked into a surprise birthday party that my wife and the bureau chief had arranged. All was forgiven, and it wasn’t long before the stadium darkroom called to tell me that Rickey had swiped another base and broke Brock’s record.

Late in Henderson’s career, I saw him play for the Newark Bears in the Atlantic League. In a game against the Somerset Patriots in Bridgewater, N.J., we were near the Bears’ dugout when an ump threw Henderson out of the game for mouthing off about a call he didn’t like. That competitive fire always burned in Henderson.

I saw Jim Rice play many times against the Indians in the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium and a couple times at Fenway Park in Boston while I was in college nearby. Rice only played for the Sox, so he’ll have a Boston cap on his plaque. I don’t know for certain how Henderson will be depicted, but for me, there’s no question: He goes with an Athletics cap.

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2 responses to “Rickey Henderson enters the Baseball Hall of Fame

  1. Craig Wieczorkiewicz

    Both guys deserve enshrinement — overdue for Rice and right on time for Rickey.

    I’m bummed because I usually watch the HOF induction ceremony, but I can’t this year because of an ongoing dispute between Dish Network and MLB Network.

    BTW, since this is The Ball Caps Blog, I got a nice Quad Cities River Bandits cap as a freebie at the ballpark in Davenport, Iowa, last night. I think the Class A River Bandits have one of the cooler logos in baseball.

    • I couldn’t watch the ceremony, either. I’ve got to look it up on YouTube.

      And I’ve seen the Bandits logo. Very cool. We’ve got the quirky Modesto Nuts out here.

      Thanks for the comment.

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