Tag Archives: Rickey Henderson

When Will the A’s Retire Dave Stewart’s Number?

Today was Rickey Henderson day in Oakland.  The next 30 days will officially be Rickey Henderson Month in Oakland as well.  No doubt, this is all deserved, but it begs the question… when will it be Dave Stewart day?

There are plenty of arguments against retiring Stew’s #34.  He only spent upwards of eight seasons in Oakland… his career numbers aren’t overwhelming…. he only made the all-star team once…. and he never won that elusive Cy Young Award.  The A’s have a pretty exclusive fraternity when it comes to retired numbers.  Despite much history, only Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, and Dennis Eckersley have their numbers plastered on the outfield wall Mt. Davis tarp.  That’s right… no Vida Blue, no Bert Campaneris, no Gene Tenace, no Mark McGwire, no Jose Canseco, and the list goes on.  However, if one were to list the most memorable Oakland Athletics in the last 45 years, Dave Stewart would surely be in that class.  He turned in one of the most impressive four year stretches ever during Oakland’s period of dominance from 1987-1990.  He complied a record of 84-45 with a 3.20 ERA.  He had an 8-3 postseason record with the A’s, including 2 of the 4 wins in Oakland’s 1989 World Series sweep of the Giants.

Statistics aside, Dave Stewart should be included in this class of legends.  Ray Fosse slipped that sentiment in during his speech today honoring Rickey Henderson.  It was received with an overwhelming ovation from the Athletics’ faithful.  Though he never won the Cy Young, he finished in the top four in the voting four years in a row.  More importantly, Stew has continued to bleed green and gold, even after his playing days.  He’s there any time someone else gets honored, and he still remains Oakland’s most intimidating starting pitcher since his heyday.  When it’s all said and done, the organization should retire his number for one reason: The fans want it.  A’s fans appreciate history as much as any other club’s, and I’d be surprised to hear any naysayers suggest that Stew doesn’t deserve this honor.  He was a terror on the mound and a class act off of it.  Since the A’s don’t appear to factor into the title hunt in the next year and a half, here’s hoping Dave Stewart Day is on the docket for the 2010 season.


Rickey Does Oakland Proud

Rickey Henderson was the star of the show today.  Jim Rice was, for all intents and purposes, the opening act for what was Rickey’s show.  It was probably the first induction ceremony I’ve ever watched in my life.  I sat intently through the Joe “Flash” Gordon and Jim Rice tributes just to see the man.  The man I took for granted as a child because I didn’t know how rare and special of a player he was.  How was I to know Rickey Henderson was a once-in-a-lifetime player?

Well, today Rickey Henderson got his due.  Today was his day.  It was great to see all the green and gold in the audience today, at a time when the A’s fan base is in pergutory.  That’s because Rickey was one of the greatest players we have, and will see, in our lifetimes.  His speech left a little to be desired.  I felt like I was watching Forrest Gump to be honest.  That’s not a jab at Rickey.  I would never insult Rickey’s intelligence, for he is an Oakland Tech alum, like my grandmother.  But let’s be real,  no one’s ever accused him of being the smartest leadoff hitter in the history of baseball!  Did he not have someone proof read his speech?  At any rate, I still watched without distraction, much like I did in the late 80s / early 90s in during the peak of his career.

Next weekend, the Rickey-fest continues back home in Oakland, as the A’s will retire his number 24.  If I don’t have an eyewitness account posted here by Monday morning, feel free to question my devotion to the Oakland Athletics forever.  Congratulations, Rickey.  And in the meantime…. Eric Patterson ladies and gentlemen!!!


Rickey Says Nobody Can Wear 24

rickey_henderson_batRickey Henderson is getting honored for his services in Oakland as the Athletics will retire his number 24 in a pre-game ceremony on August 1st. (Catcher Kurt Suzuki already switched from 24 to 8 at the beginning of the season) Rickey is also a very deserved first ballot for the Hall of Fame inductee this year, and got in as easy as it was to tell himself that he was the best (with 94.8% of votes). I’m already excited for his induction speech that will fall on July 26th! Rickey was my favorite player growing up.rickey_henderson22 I even bought those ridiculous neon green Mizuno batting gloves, and practiced the snatch catch in my little league days. He played 14 of his 25 seasons in Oakland wearing green and gold for most of his prime including his lone MVP season. It’s only fitting that they retire his number, as he was arguably the greatest leadoff hitter of all time and always an Athletic at heart. It will be a long time until we ever see a player that can steal bases and hit for power (81 leadoff homers the MLB record) from the top spot in the order.

His induction to the Hall of Fame on January 12th could be one of the last first ballot players to make it for awhile with the steroid cloud looming over many of the players that will become eligible in the upcoming years. Rickey will be remembered for his cocky attitude and strong opinions that made him the fun player he was on and off the field. A reporter once asked Henderson about Ken Caminiti’s estimation that 50 percent of Major League players were taking steroids. His response was, “Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there.”

His constant self appraisal from the third person is always entertaining, “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.”

And

“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?”

rickey_henderson36His stats speak for themselves as he is on top of some of the all time lists:

#1 all time with 1,406 Stolen Bases and 2,295 Runs, 1990 MVP, 10 time All Star, 12 time stolen base champ, 1 Gold Glove, 297 Home Runs, 3,055 hits, 2nd all time with 2,190 walks, and 2 World Series Rings 89 in Oakland and 93 with Toronto. I’d list more, but you can check them out on baseball reference if you’d like to.

I hope you tune in to his HOF induction and number retirement ceremony, because I’m sure his speeches will be classic!