Friday, December 13, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #86 RICKEY HENDERSON


RICKEY DID WHAT RICKEY WANTED TO.



HIS STATS ARE AS MIND-BLOWING AS HIS QUOTES.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Rickey Henderson's talent was otherworldly, and when he spoke, it was clear he was from another planet. He's the all-time leader in steals (1,406), runs (2,295) and leadoff home runs (81), playing in 25 seasons. He also had some of the smugest talking-in-the-third-person quotes of all-time, like, "Rickey don't like it when Rickey can't find Rickey's limo.'' Add it up, and there are plenty of extraordinary stats to compute and quotes to chuckle over. He was the rare leadoff hitter with a blend of speed and power that prompted Bill James to once say, "If you could split him in two, you'd have two Hall of Famers.''

DEFINING MOMENT

  • After stealing 871 bases in his first 11 seasons, it became a forgone conclusion Rickey would eclipse Lou Brock's record of 938. So, on May 1, 1991, Rickey did the deed against the Yankees' starter Tim Leary and catcher Matt Nokes, swiping third in the bottom of the fourth. He was thrown out trying to steal second in the first. Rickey being Rickey, he ripped the bag out of the ground, thrusting it above his head. "... Lou Brock was the symbol of great base stealing. But today, I'm the greatest of all-time,'' Rickey said on the field, showing a humble side and echoing Lou Gehrig's famous on-the-field speech from '39.

DEFINING SEASON

  • In '82, in his third season as a starter, Rickey broke Brock's single-season record (118) for steals with 130, including 84 at the All-Star break. He walked a major-league leading 116 times, hit 10 homers, drove in 51 runs and hit .261.  

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. In Rickey's first full season in '80, he became the third modern-era player to reach triple-digits in steals with 100, behind Maury Wills and Brock.
  2. Rickey attempted 172 steals in his record-breaking '82 season, good for a 76 percent success rate, being caught a major-league high 42 times.
  3. Rickey came to the plate 13,346 times and reached base 40.1 percent of the time. Amazing.
  4. Won his MVP in '90, leading the AL in runs (119), steals (65), on-base percentage (.439) and OPS (1.016). He hit .325 with 28 homers and 61 RBI.
  5. Rickey got around the league like a groupie, but talents like his always will be in demand. He had four stints totaling 14 years with the Athletics and two stints with the Padres totaling three years. He also played five years with the Yankees, two with the Mets and one each with the Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Mariners and Blue Jays.


THE MAN OF STEAL.


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