I’m not going to do a spring training report this year because…well, let’s face it, spring training doesn’t mean much to anyone but minor league players who want to sniff a few jock straps and have some stories to tell on the bus while they’re travelling to another crappy hayseed town. Most players think that the whole ordeal lasts waaaay too long, and I tend to agree. At this point in time I have no interest in watching Joe Blow from AA Round Rock pinch hit and strike out on 3 pitches because he’s never seen a curveball.
Instead, I have decided to take you on yet another virtual time travel. Rickey Henderson posed for Playgirl in July 1984, and I thought “gee, that was an interesting year in pop culture.” I was 9 years old and loved Michael Jackson. The biggest topic on the playground was,”would you fuck Madonna?” Of course, we were all virgins and wouldn’t know what to do with our peckers even if Madonna was a pedophile who was attracted to small town knuckleheads.
Have a look and listen. Maybe a few of these videos might shake loose a memory from your rotted cerebrum and you can experience a serious case of the deja vu’s. I love when that happens. It leaves me speechless and almost comatose for a few moments.
Prince’s version was actually the number 1 single, but since he is such a hard-on about his music, here is the Patti Smith version. I love her.
number 1 album.
top grossing movie.
Padres and Tigers in the World Series. Yuck.
Who could forget the George Orwell classic!
Poised between going on and back, pulled Both ways taut like a tight-rope walker, Fingertips pointing the opposites, Now bouncing tiptoe like a dropped ball, Or a kid skipping rope, come on, come on! Running a scattering of steps sidewise, How he teeters, skitters, tingles, teases, Taunts them, hovers like an ecstatic bird, He’s only flirting, crowd him, crowd him, Delicate, delicate, delicate, delicate – Now! –
People wax nostalgic about Ty Cobb and the other dead beat- dead ball honkies….but make no mistake, if my man Rickey was around and even ALLOWED to play with those bigots he would have stolen 2000 more bases. Now before anyone gets crazy about an era they’ve only READ about, let me explain–In the dead ball era it was damn near prerequisite for someone to steal. If you had less than 50 in a season, you just weren’t that good. (apparently they didn’t give a shit about sabermetrics, as in 2010 in the American League there were 1505 stolen bases and only 540 caught stealing. A success rate of 73.6% which is almost 22% higher than in 1927. And 1927 was a high year as the success rate for a SB in that era was usually well under 60%…. Ty Cobb’s stolen base percentage for his career was probably around 67 percent.) Of course, there is always the argument that the era that I speak of had a lackadaisical attitude towards balk calls and other mound chicanery… and that is true, yet I find it hard to believe that an inferior athlete such as Babe Ruth, whos home run trot is famous for its daintiness can actually have 123 career swipes…a mere 77 behind Jose “robo-athlete” Canseco. What the fuck is going on here? This sport makes as much sense as a 40-year-old divorcee in Ibiza….entertaining, wealthy, fun to look at, yet ultimately a head shaking affair.
Ahhhh…but isn’t life itself a head shaking affair? How can you make sense of the serial killer, religion, black holes, or the time I vomited on the subway.
….and by you I mean YOU…the reader. You don’t know shit. Admit it. You will want to fulfill your need to be “the correct party” and regale me with NUMBERS. I don’t need numbers….I’ve seen the greatest base stealer of ALL TIME in my life time, and until they put robots on the goddamn field that will never change.
Rickey Henderson Quotes
1) Rickey, on referring to himself in the third person:“Listen, people are always saying, ‘Rickey says Rickey.’ But it’s been blown way out of proportion. People might catch me, when they know I’m ticked off, saying, ‘Rickey, what the heck are you doing, Rickey?’ They say, ‘Darn, Rickey, what are you saying Rickey for? Why don’t you just say, ‘I?’ But I never did. I always said, ‘Rickey,’ and it became something for people to joke about.”
2) 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.
4) Rickey once told a cleaning lady that cleaning his room was bad luck.
5) This one happened in Seattle. Rickey struck out and as the next batter was walking past him, he heard Henderson say, “Don’t worry, Rickey, you’re still the best.”
6) Rickey once asked a teammate how long it would take him to drive to the Dominican Republic. 7) Moments after breaking Lou Brock’s stolen base record, Henderson told the crowd – with Brock mere feet next to him – “Lou Brock was a great base stealer, but today, I am the greatest of all-time.”
8) Henderson once fell asleep on an ice pack and got frostbite – which forced him to miss three games — in mid-August.
9) A reporter asked Henderson if Ken Caminiti’s estimate that 50 percent of Major League players were taking steroids was accurate. His response was, “Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there.”
11) On being Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th career strikeout: “It gave me no chance. He (Ryan) just blew it by me. But it’s an honor. I’ll have another paragraph in all the baseball books. I’m already in the books three or four times.”
12) San Diego GM Kevin Towers was trying to contact Rickey at a nearby hotel. He knew Henderson always used fake names to avoid the press, fans, etc. He was trying to think like Rickey and after several attempts; he was able to get Henderson on the phone. Rickey had checked in under Richard Pryor.
14) The Mets were staying in a hotel less than a mile from Cinergy Field in Cincinnati. While some players walked, most took the team bus. A few minutes after they arrived — again it was less than a mile – the last players off the bus noticed a stretched limo that had just pulled up. Of course, Rickey emerged from the back seat.
15) A reporter once asked Rickey if he talked to himself, “Do I talk to myself? No, I just remind myself of what I’m trying to do. You know, I never answer myself so how can I be talking to myself?”
16) According to both parties involved, this one’s not true. But here is is anyhow. The story went that a few weeks into Henderson’s stint with the Mariners, he walked up to Olerud at the batting cage and asked him why he wore a batting helmet in the field. Olerud explained that he had an aneurysm at nine years old and he wore the helmet for protection. Legend goes that Henderson said, “Yeah, I used to play with a guy that had the same thing.”Legend also goes that Olerud said, “That was me, Rickey.”Henderson played with Olerud on the Blue Jays and the Mets.