Rickey Henderson

Rickey HendersonThe greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, Rickey Henderson holds the all-time record for runs scored and stolen bases. He swiped an incredible 1,406 bases, leading his league 12 times, the last time at the age of 39. They practically had to tear the uniform off Henderson – he played professionally until he was 46 years old, still certain that he could help his team win games.

Henderson was famous for being cocky, an airhead, and narcissistic. He referred to himself in the third person as in “Rickey is going to get three hits tonight.” In 2001 after he set the all-time record for runs scored, Henderson returned to San Diego in the off-season to collect home plate from the ballpark as a souvenir. When a member of the grounds crew pulled it from the ground after digging it up with considerable effort, Henderson held the plate above his head and waved it to the empty stadium, saying loudly, “I am the greatest of all-time!”

On the even of the 1981 season, Oakland manager Billy Martin informed the press that every one of his players would need to get the “go” sign before attempting to steal a base, even Henderson, who was coming off a 100-steal season. “I don’t need guys breaking records for the hell of it,” Martin said. Ironically, a year later in 1982 Martin would be criticized when he did everything he could to help Henderson break Lou Brock’s single-season stolen base mark. At one point in August after a game between the A’s and Tigers, Detroit manager Sparky Anderson charged Martin with making a mockery of the game when he ordered a baserunner (Fred “Chicken” Stanley) to steal a base so he could be thrown out and clear the way for Rickey to swipe a bag.

Most Stolen Bases, 1990-1999
Otis Nixon … 478
*Rickey Henderson … 463
Kenny Lofton … 433
Delino DeShields … 393
Marquis Grissom … 381
Barry Bonds … 343
Chuck Knoblauch … 335
Craig Biggio … 319
Roberto Alomar … 311
Lance Johnson … 297

Rickey was 31 years old when the decade started!


  • Rickey Hendersonwas the 5,000th strikeout victim of Nolan Ryan‘s career, in 1989.