"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 1/13/09

OK … the HOF vote is done … another month till pitchers and catchers … sigh …

Here’s the news:

  • MLB.com has plenty of coverage on the HOF voting.  Here’s an article on the election of Henderson and Rice.  A couple of Henderson excerpts:

“I feel great about it,” said the 50-year-old Henderson during a conference call on Monday. “I love the game and I wanted to continue playing. It came to a time that I had to stop. It’s been five years and they chose me to go into the Hall of Fame. So I couldn’t be any more thrilled or pleased.”

“There was only one Rickey Henderson in baseball,” George Steinbrenner, the Yanks chairman, said about the right-handed hitter. “He was the greatest leadoff hitter of all time. I consider him a great friend with tremendous spirit and a true Yankee.”

“His election is well deserved. He was one of the best players that I ever played with and obviously the best leadoff hitter in baseball,” said Dave Winfield, a now fellow Hall of Famer who was Henderson’s teammate with the Yankees. “We had a lot of fun pushing each other to play at higher levels. I’m very glad to see he got in.”

  • Here’s an audio clip with Henderson talking about the honor.
  • Former Yankee teammates of Henderson were quoted in an MLB.com here:

“Rickey and I have been friends for a long time, and I am ecstatic for him,” (Willie) Randolph said. “I’ve been fortunate and blessed to have played with a great number of phenomenal baseball players, but pound-for-pound, Rickey Henderson is the best player I’ve ever played beside.

“No one was able to impact the course of a game in as many ways as Rickey. This is a great day for him, and I can’t wait to hear his acceptance speech.”

“Rickey was one of the most competitive players I’ve ever seen,” said former Yankee Ken Griffey Sr. “He was relentless. He could beat you with his legs and his bat, and he could beat you from the leadoff position, which was something people hadn’t seen before.

“As a person, Rickey was very funny and generous. I hung out and talked with him a lot, and we used to go to dinner. I enjoyed every minute of those years.”

  • ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark examines the HOF voting, and is dumb-founded as to how 28 voters left Rickey off their ballots:

But that still leaves 25 voters with other agendas. And while I’m not normally in the business of lecturing people on how to vote, let me say this to those 25 voters:

You all need to think long and hard about why you’re even participating in these elections.

If you’re not voting for Rickey Henderson, you’ve been watching the wrong sport. Seriously, by what standard is this man NOT a Hall of Famer? He scored more runs than any player in the history of baseball. Do we even need to list ANY other qualifications? That answer is no.

But let’s list some anyway:

• He’s the all-time leading base stealer in the history of the sport. And even if he’d never played a game after age 29, he’d still rank No. 5 — ahead of Vince Coleman, Honus Wagner, Joe Morgan, Kenny Lofton and Maury Wills. Among a zillion others.

• Let’s just say Carl Crawford and Jose Reyes are baseball’s two most prominent active base stealers. They’ve combined to steal 592 bases in their careers, in a total of 13 seasons. That’s not even as many as the 612 Rickey stole after turning 30 — by HIMSELF.

• In Rickey Henderson, ladies and gentlemen, we’re talking about a man who had more 20-homer seasons (four) than Matt Holliday, more 100-run seasons (13) than Manny Ramirez and Junior Griffey put together, and more 100-walk seasons (seven) than Chipper Jones, A-Rod, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, Grady Sizemore and Johnny Damon combined.

• In fact, Henderson had more 100-walk seasons by himself than all 14 of the active leadoff men in our rank-the-leadoff-hitters poll have drawn in their careers COMBINED.

• Not to mention he led the major leagues in runs scored five different times. Only Babe Ruth (eight) and Mickey Mantle (six) ever did it more times than that.

But why am I even doing this? This case is closed. Or ought to be. Rickey Henderson was the greatest leadoff man in history, the greatest run-scoring machine in history and the greatest base stealer in history. So let me ask all those people who left this man off their ballot one more time: If you’re not voting for a guy like that, why are you voting?

  • Over at the Times, Jack Curry has an article on the selections, and offers this insight:

Without the influence of his mother, Bobbie, Henderson might have bypassed baseball and might not be pondering a must-hear speech. Henderson’s dream was to play in the N.F.L., but Bobbie thought he was too small and steered him toward baseball. Bobbie ended up helping steer her son into the Hall.

“I felt that I would have been a football star, not a baseball player,” Henderson said. “And it turned out to be a different sport and it turned out to be a great sport.”

  • One-time Yankee Tim Raines was named on 22.6% of the HOF ballots, while Don Mattingly appeared on 11.9% of the ballots.  Here’s an article detailing how all the one-time Yankees fared.
  • BP.com dug up a Q&A it conducted with Henderson in 2003.
  • Here is an article with information on the new Metro-North station at the Stadium, and the associated fares.
  • At LoHud, our buddy PeteAbe notes that the Yanks will wear a “1st season in new stadium” commemorative patch on their uniforms in 2009 (and you MUST see what the Mets are offering as THEIR patch)!
  • Happy 28th birthday to Darrell Rasner, who decided after spending the last three seasons with the Bombers to continue his career pitching in Japan.
  • On this date in 1939, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert dies from phlebitis at age 62. In 1919, Ruppert purchased the land on which Yankee Stadium would eventually be built.
  • On this date in 1978, Hall of Fame manager Joe McCarthy dies in Buffalo, New York, at the age of 90. McCarthy was the first manager to win pennants with both National and American League teams, won nine league titles overall (eight of those with the Yanks) and seven World Series championships  (all seven with the Yanks).

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Raf   ~  Jan 13, 2009 11:21 am

Jayson Stark examines the HOF voting, and is dumb-founded as to how 28 voters left Rickey off their ballots:

I can understand why they would;

1. Too many teams
2. Not always being "ready to play"
3. A "hot dog" that "didn't play the game right" or "didn't respect the game"
4. "Hung on" to pad his stats


5. Writers are a bunch of f--ing morons.

Having said that, I would like to hear the reasons from these 28. I mean Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, George Brett among others were slam dunks, I don't know why some writers vote the way they do.

2 jacobruppert   ~  Jan 13, 2009 1:30 pm

Please be advised that Col. Jacob Ruppert, Jr. died at the age of 71, not 62.

K. Jacob Ruppert, J.D.
Great-grandnephew of Col. Jacob Ruppert, Jr.

3 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jan 13, 2009 1:39 pm

My favorite thing about Rickey other than the usual stuff (the snap catch, the crouch, the all around electric dynamism) is the fact that he throws l and bats r.

He's the only one I've ever heard of to do that.

Actually, I think I vaguely recall some other random nobody who did that, but the question is, why did he do this?

Does anyone know?

Someone should ask him 'cause it's damned peculiar.

I wouldn't even be surprised if he did it just to be a hotdog. :)

4 Raf   ~  Jan 13, 2009 2:24 pm

He’s the only one I’ve ever heard of to do that.

Actually, I think I vaguely recall some other random nobody who did that, but the question is, why did he do this?

Brian Hunter (the OF/1b, not the CF'er), Mark Carreon, and Me. I'm sure there were others, they just don't come to mind right now.

I don't know about the others, but I saw everyone else swinging the bat that way, so that's that I did. I guess the reason it's such a rarity is that lefties are a minority to begin with, so when you see a lefty that isn't TL/BL or a switch hitter, it's odd.

I've tried batting LH, but while it's a pretty swing, it's an unsuccessful one.

5 rbj   ~  Jan 13, 2009 2:29 pm

IIRC from yesterday on MLBN, there are two other HoFers who batted right & threw left. They were both pitchers.

As for
2. Not always being “ready to play”
3. A “hot dog” that “didn’t play the game right” or “didn’t respect the game”
4. “Hung on” to pad his stats

how many other sure fire HoFers would, after their careers were over, actually played independent ball, just to get back in the game. (at least ones who didn't need the money).

6 JL25and3   ~  Jan 13, 2009 3:28 pm

Yeah, Rickey's far and away the best BL/TR position player ever. I think Mark Carreon had the second best career.

7 JL25and3   ~  Jan 13, 2009 3:28 pm

What a moron. Obviously, that's BR/TL. I knew that.

8 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jan 13, 2009 4:28 pm

[7] Anyone who'd think you a moron, JL, would only be revealing himself to be one.

Fear not. :)

9 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 13, 2009 6:36 pm

[8] Well I think JL is the smartest, grooviest, most honest of men that have ever walked the planet. And you are too... >;)

10 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jan 13, 2009 8:52 pm


You're not so bad yourself, Will.

(How much longer must we suffer?)

11 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 13, 2009 10:19 pm

[10] "Where do we go, what do we know;
Life has to have a meaning...
Show me the light, show me the way,
Show that you're listening..."

John Legend >;)

12 PJ   ~  Jan 14, 2009 12:50 am

I know there are more members of the Hall who batted right and threw left, especially switch hitters such as Herb Pennock, but the ones I found who weren't switch hitters were all pitchers: Sandy Koufax, Eppa Rixey, Carl Hubbell, Rube Waddell.

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