Perhaps one of the most underrated baseball players of all-time, Rickey Henderson changed the game every time he stepped onto the field. Henderson was an amazing compilation of speed, toughness and the desire to win that has rarely been seen in the modern generation of baseball. While most fans love to see the home run hitters, players like Rickey Henderson kept the fans in their seats during 1-0 games in the eighth inning, and often affected the outcome in close games by his daring on the base paths.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1958 Rickey Henderson’s mother remarried and moved to Oakland, California when he was 8 years old. A star athlete in high school, Rickey Henderson had back to back 1,000 yard seasons as a football running back, and had college scholarship offers from dozens of universities but turned them all down to pursue his baseball dreams. In 1989 Henderson made his professional debut with the Oakland Athletics, and had a good rookie season batting .274 and stealing 33 bases in 89 games.
While mostly recognized as the greatest base stealer ever, Henderson was also good with his bat, hitting over.300 seven times and winning 3 American League Silver Slugger Awards. A ten time all-star, Rickey Henderson helped his Oakland Athletics to a World Series Championship in 1989, and later the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993. In all, Rickey Henderson played for 13 major league teams including the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. In 1990 Henderson won the American League Most Valuable Player Award, batting for a .325 average with 119 runs scored and 65 stolen bases. In 1982 Henderson shattered the single season stolen base record with an astonishing 130 – a record that still stands today.
In his baseball career Henderson scored 100 or more runs 13 times, had 14 seasons with over 50 stolen bases (including three seasons with over 100), led the American League in stolen bases 12 times and in runs scored 5 times. When he retired, Henderson had the major league record for career stolen bases with 1,406, games led off with a home run with 81, and runs scored with 2,295 (later broken by Barry Bonds). Henderson finished with a career .279 batting average with 3,055 hits and 297 home runs.
Retiring after the 2003 baseball season, Henderson was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009, receiving 94.8 percent of the votes cast in his favor. Since then, Rickey Henderson has worked as a batting instructor and major league coach.