Wednesday, January 28, 2009

1992 High 5 Reusable Decals

It's been awhile since I've showcased some of the oddball items in my collection, and since I just recently found out something interesting about the High 5 decals, I thought now would be a good time to share.

The High 5 decals came on sheets with 5 player cards and a logo. There are two different types of sheets, team sheets (5 players and the team logo ago), and "Superstar" sheets (with 5 players and the "Superstar Collection") logo.

Shown above is the Rickey decal from the A's team sheet, described as "1992 High 5 105" by Beckett.

The back of the sheets include a bonus "5 x 7" of a particular player (in this case Ken Griffey Jr.), as well as the checklist of the full 130 card set.

On the sidebar on the back, it describes the "Superstar Assortments" that are also available, with Rickey being included in the A.L. outfielders set.

You may have noticed on the upper corner of the package, that there was a different looking Rickey card included as an example of how the decals were "reusable and removable." When the A's sheet was the only one that I had, I assumed that this must be the Superstar variation that is referred to on the back. But, I have never seen this decal, and I don't believe it ever existed.

I eventually came across this set of decals, which is actually the Superstar Collection, featuring the same decal as in the base set (at least that's what I thought, until this past week)

Here's a close-up of the Superstar version of the decal, labelled "High 5 Superstars 19."

Based on a question from a fellow Rickey collector about the difference between the two decals, I pulled out both of my sheets. I then noticed that the decal from the A's sheet on the left spells his name "Rickey," while the decal from the Superstars sheet on the right is spelled "Ricky." Followers of this blog know of my disdain of those that can't spell "Rickey" correctly, but at least in this instance it actually helps collectors determine the difference between two variations. This won't help collectors of other players, however, as the Canseco decal, which also appears on both sheets, looks to be the same in both instances.

This last picture is of the back of a prototype decal that I also have. The front looks exactly like the Superstars decals, which can be determined due to the "Ricky" spelling. Since even the prototype doesn't feature the picture used in the upper corner of the sheet, it's just further proof that the decal never existed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A’s Announce “Rickey Weekend”

I’ve been patiently waiting for the A’s to announce their promotional schedule for 2009, and they finally released it today. I knew that they had to do something for Rickey this year, and they didn’t disappoint. It all looks very promising!

“Another recent staple in Oakland has been replica-jersey giveaways, and the highlight this season will feature Rickey Henderson, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame last week. On "Rickey Day," set for Saturday, Aug. 1, Henderson jerseys will be handed out -- No. 24 -- before the "Man of Steal" is honored in a ceremony on the field. The following day, on Sunday, Aug. 2, the A's have plans for a Rickey banner giveaway.”

The Campy Campaneris retro-jersey the A’s gave away in 2008 was one of the nicer promotional jerseys that I’ve seen. Hopefully the Rickey jersey will be just as nice.

Although they don’t say it directly, it’s pretty safe to assume that the “ceremony on the field” is going to be the A’s retiring of Rickey’s number 24. I’m going to have some busy weekends at the end of July / beginning of August, with my son turning 1 year old on July 16th, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown on July 26th, and now the A’s own ceremony on August 1st. I can’t wait!

I’m interested to see what the “Rickey banner” looks like, and have to figure out if I’ll be able to go to that game as well. Hopefully they A’s decide to “sponsor” the banner themselves, and not cover it in giant logos of Tide or Arrowhead, as is the case with most giveaways. The Campy jersey only includes a small Cache Creek logo on the back, which is not entirely objectionable. Although I understand that these are promotional items, I hope they decide to honor Rickey without all of the corporate sponsorship.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Package from Thoughts and Sox

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Adam at Thoughts and Sox, asking for my address so that he could send over a stack of A's that he'd accumulated. He sent a nice stack of base cards, as well as the two inserts below, which were definitely my favorites.

I've been wanting this Chavez card for awhile, as it's actually been pretty popular among online A's bloggers. Not too long ago dayf had one for trade, and he ended up having a "Fake Tony Gwynn Card Contest" to determine the winner. I decided against challenging PunkRockPaint to "Paint-Off," but now I have a version of my own!

This is the second version of Thomas' 2008 Allen & Ginter that I now own, and neither one is the base version. The first one, the Allen & Ginter back parallel, I actually pulled from a pack. I thought that the one that Adam sent over was the base, until I realized that there was no number on the back!

Thanks for the cards Adam, there's some Red Sox on their way to you as we speak (well, not literally, since today's a postal holiday, but they should be there shortly).

A's Hire Rickey in "Goodwill" Role for 2009

Although this was announced last Thursday, I haven't had any time recently to update the blog. But, better late than never:

"The A's have hired recent Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson in a goodwill capacity for the 2009 season, Lew Wolff, the team's owner said during the two days of owners' meetings that end here on Thursday. 'We'll have him working for us and that should be a nice thing,' Wolff said." The full article can be found here.

The A's and Rickey have been talking for awhile about working together in some capacity or another, and it looks like they were finally able to work something out. It's still not clear what role Rickey will play in the organization, but just knowing that he's back with the A's is good news to me!

I'm hoping that he spends some time with the A's AAA affiliate (the RiverCats) here in Sacramento, as then I'd be able to stop by and checks things out. Although nothing is ever certain with Rickey, this announcement might stop any recent thoughts he's had about attempting another comeback.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rickey to enter Hall as an Oakland Athletic

Although he's always said that he wanted to wear an Oakland A's hat on his Hall of Fame plaque, I didn't want to believe it until it was officially announced. I still can't believe that Reggie entered as a Yankee! Here's a link to the Hall of Fame press release from Tuesday, when it was announced. The full text of the release is included below.

I've also included a short clip from from his press conference the day after being inducted.

NEW YORK — The baggy, cream-colored jersey draped over Rickey Henderson's shoulders, hiding the vintage physique that you could swear still fit right in on a Major League diamond.

This team, the Hall of Fame roster Henderson officially joined this week, could be considered Henderson's 10th. For a man who wore nine different big league uniforms --including his immortalized one, that of the Oakland Athletics, four times -- it is also his last.

"Wearing so many uniforms says that you played the game right," Henderson said. "A lot of teams were interested in you helping their ballclub. I remember a time that they were saying to go out and 'rent Rickey' for the playoffs. I was a money player. For a big game, they would want me out on the field."

The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced Tuesday that Henderson's plaque will feature the 'A' that Henderson wore in green and gold for parts of 14 of his big league seasons.

It is an appropriate fit: a Bay Area product who excelled in three sports at Oakland Technical High School, Henderson joined the A's in 1976, setting his course for the remarkable sequence of achievements that soon followed.

"It means a great deal," Henderson said. "It's my hometown, the city of Oakland, where I lived and grew up. My friends in the Bay Area get the opportunity of knowing that I went in as an Oakland A. When I think back on how I got drafted as a ballplayer, Charlie O. Finley was coming to the ballpark to see me play."

Finley, the eccentric Athletics owner who actually attended some of Henderson's amateur games in lieu of dispatching a scout. Some in the know were hesitant to draft Henderson because he batted right-handed and threw left-handed, an odd combination that rarely yielded big league success.

But Henderson was always good about rewriting the books. Playing four seasons in Oakland's farm system, Henderson developed the trademark crouch and dime-sized strike zone that made him such a tenacious presence on the diamond.

"I learned and developed how to get on the basepaths," Henderson said. "I was being patient at the plate. Once I learned how to get on the basepaths, my intention was to create some movement. I knew the pitcher was paying attention to me."

A perfect fit to Billy Martin's aggressive style of play in Oakland, Henderson became a standout with the A's, racking up league-leading numbers in the categories of runs scored and stolen bases -- career records he'd eventually bring back to the Bay, cementing his status as an unstoppable force heading toward Cooperstown.

"I always liked the challenge between pitchers and catchers," Henderson said. "A home-run hitter has to beat the pitcher. As a basestealer, I had to beat the pitcher and the catcher.

"I used to like to look at the face of the pitcher when you'd steal a base. I used to walk up to the catcher and tell them, 'If you don't give me a pitch to hit, I'm going to be on third base.'"

Henderson left Oakland for New York in a seven-player deal before the 1985 season, a four-plus-year stay that the stolen-base king said produced one of his biggest regrets.

Henderson lauded some of his teammates, like Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield, but still scratches his head at how those talented clubs -- with all of George Steinbrenner's bankroll to back them -- didn't achieve postseason success.

"Billy Martin believed in his heart that I was supposed to be a Yankee," Henderson said. "The thing that is a little disappointing is that when I was playing with the Yankees, we had such a great team. We just could never get over the hump."

Dispatched back to the A's midway through the 1989 season, Henderson led Oakland to a title in the earthquake-interrupted World Series, then went on to help the Toronto Blue Jays in similar fashion come 1993.

Henderson's hired-gun experience in Toronto yielded one of his personal favorite 'Rickey stories,' though it didn't come to fruition for years to come. With the Blue Jays, Henderson was a teammate of first baseman John Olerud, who manned first base while wearing a helmet -- a precaution taken after he suffered a brain aneurysm in college.

As the oft-repeated story goes, Henderson encountered Olerud with the New York Mets in 1999, remarking about how he had once played with a guy who also wore a helmet while playing first base. Olerud is supposed to have responded, "That was me." It is a remarkable story, but as both insist, not true.

"You'd hear it and hear it," Henderson said. "They'd come to me and ask, 'Is this true?' Then they'd go to John and ask, 'Is this true?' It's not true, but it sounds good."

There were other memories, like the day San Diego Padres owner John Moores escorted Henderson back to an empty stadium to dig up home plate after shattering Ty Cobb's record for runs scored. That plate is mounted in Henderson's home, to be passed down through his family.

Henderson has more to pass on. Hired by the Mets as a special instructor in 2006, Henderson sees glimpses of himself in speedster Jose Reyes, believing that Reyes could possibly steal 100 bases in his budding big league career.

Of course, Henderson had already accomplished it three times by the time he was Reyes' age. Reyes' high, to date, was 78 swipes in 2007, a mark Henderson nearly doubled with 130 in 1982. And true to Rickey form, Henderson still believes that there's a little more running left in his bones.

"I feel that he can go out and try to achieve some of the records that I had on the basepaths," Henderson said. "As I look at him running and stealing bases, I feel that I can go out and steal probably as many bases as Reyes steals."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rickey Henderson on Late Show with David Letterman

Although I didn't find out about it until this morning, Rickey and Jim Rice presented the Top 10 List on David Letterman last night, "Top Ten Highlights Of My Hall of Fame Baseball Career."

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet (and the CBS YouTube site), I was able to watch the clip online, which I've included below. Surprisingly, I think this is the first video I've ever attempted to include in the blog, so I hope it works.

For those of you without video access, here's a rundown of the list:

Top Ten Highlights Of My Hall of Fame Baseball Career presented by Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson

10. "Winning the MVP in 1978, and a Tony in 1983"(Jim Rice)
9. "I designed the first vibrating jockstrap"(Rickey Henderson)
8. "During the 1981 season I lost my glove and played an entire west coast trip using a small box"(Jim Rice)
7. "All the free gum"(Rickey Henderson)
6. "I caught a squirrel in the outfield and the umps let me eat it"(Jim Rice)
5. "Being a Met, a Blue Jay, a Padre, a Dodger...Hell, even I can't remember all the teams I played for"(Rickey Henderson)
4. "Before every game, I ate the same meal: pancakes smothered in pine tar"(Jim Rice)
3. "Sleeping with Madonna"(Rickey Henderson)
2. "Sleeping with Madonna"(Jim Rice)
1. "I played with Jose Canseco and never got to inject anything in his ass"(Rickey Henderson)

It was definitely not the funniest Top 10 list ever, but it was nice to see Rickey enjoying himself. It actually seemed like he was a little shy about being up there, which is not something you hear being said about Rickey very often (if ever).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rickey in the News: The Day After

Now that his big day has finally arrived, Rickey has been all over the news today. My local paper, the Sacramento Bee, had a nice full page picture and article about Rickey on the front of the sports page, and I’m assuming quite a few other papers did as well.

If anyone had a special commemorative section, pullout poster, or anything interesting commemorating Rickey’s Hall of Fame induction included in their local paper, please let me know, as I’d love to get a hold of a copy.

I also know that there’s probably going to be all sorts of new collectibles released in the next 6-months, and if anyone comes across one they think I might be interested in, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I try and stay on top of everything, but there’s a lot of stuff out there, and sometimes things fall through the cracks.

Included below are some of the pictures that the Sacramento Bee currently has included as a slideshow on their website. The full slideshow can be found here.

Throwing out the first pitch of Game 3 of the ALDS on 10/6/2006

Everyone should know this one: Stolen base number 939!

Playing for the Angels in 1997

Stealing a base against the Red Sox on 8/25/1998

Game winning homer against that Devil Rays on 4/28/1998

Working as a special instructor for the Mets in 2007

There’s also a great slideshow of classic Rickey pictures over at the Oakland Tribune’s site here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rickey Henderson Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

I started this blog over one year ago, for this one specific post, announcing that almost 30 years after he played his game first game with the Oakland A's in 1979, Rickey Henderson has been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame! Jim Rice, who was on the ballot for the final year, also received enough votes for induction.

I had been holding out hope that he would be the first player ever to be inducted unanimously, but we found out last week that it was not going to happen. The only question remaining was just how many sportswriters would fail to include Rickey on their ballot. It was definitely a surprising result!

Rickey was included on the ballots of 511 of the 539 BBWAA members to submit votes for this year's election. I'm still confused by the fact that he received only 94.8% of the vote, and that 28 voters failed to include his name on the ballot. I have no idea what the motives/rationale were behind the 28 who failed to vote for Rickey, but even if they did try and back up their decisions, the reasons would probably be illogical.

Here's a list of the Top 10 inductees into the Hall of Fame, based on percentage of votes received:

1. Tom Seaver, 1992, 98.84%
2. Nolan Ryan, 1999, 98.79%
3. Cal Ripken, 2007, 98.53%
4. Ty Cobb, 1936, 98.23%
5. George Brett, 1999, 98.19%
6. Hank Aaron, 1982, 97.83%
7. Tony Gwynn, 2007, 97.61%
8. Mike Schmidt, 1995, 96.52%
9. Johnny Bench, 1989, 96.42%
10. Steve Carlton, 1994, 95.82%

13. Rickey Henderson, 2009, 94.81%

Here's a similar list of the Top 10 players inducted into the Hall of Fame, based not on percentage of votes received, but on total votes missed:

1. Ty Cobb, 1936, 4 missed votes (222 of 226)
2. Tom Seaver, 1992, 5 missed votes (425 of 430)
3. Nolan Ryan, 1999, 6 missed votes (491 of 497)
4. Cal Ripken, 2007, 8 missed votes (537 of 545)
5. George Brett, 1999, 9 missed votes (488 of 497)
6. Hank Aaron, 1982, 9 missed votes (406 of 415)
7. Bob Feller, 1962, 10 missed votes (150 of 160)
8. (tie) Babe Ruth, 1936, 11 missed votes (215 of 226)
8. tie) Honus Wagner, 1936, 11 missed votes (215 of 226)
10. Tony Gwynn, 2007, 13 missed votes (532 of 545)

Rickey Henderson, 2009, 28 missed votes (511 of 539)

Now that he has been officially inducted into the Hall of Fame, it's time for the real fun to begin! The induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, NY are a little over 6 months away, and they couldn't come soon enough! I know every sportswriter out there is drooling over the sound bites they will get from Rickey's acceptance speech. It should be a lot of fun.

There's also the outstanding questions of what hat he'll wear on his plaque (it HAS to be the A's), as well as who he will have introducing him during induction. Rickey has been around baseball quite a long time, so it will be interesting to see who he chooses to precede him on a day I know he's been looking forward to for quite a few years.

As you've probably noticed, today's post has been illustrated with cards "foreshadowing" Rickey's imminent induction into the Hall. This past year (2008), was the first since 1980 that not a single baseball card of Rickey was produced. I'm hoping that will change in 2009, now that he's the newest member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Anyone with the MLB Network: I Need Your Help!

As with most baseball fans, I was looking forward to the premiere of the MLB Network last week. Until I found out that it was partially owned by DirectTV, meaning customers of Dish Network (my satellite provider), would be some of the few people not able to watch the channel. I've filled out the form on their website to request it be added, but I'm not holding my breath.

I found out through a Google Alert this morning that the channel will be showing Rickey-related programming this weekend, through the Hall of Fame announcement on Monday, and I just have to see it. I've included a list below of the games/programs that will be on. If anyone can tape all these for me, and burn them to a DVD(s), I would really appreciate it!

Sunday, January 11

1:00pm EST: 1989 ALCS Game 2 -- Toronto @ Oakland Featuring Rickey Henderson Stealing Four Bases (replayed again at 12:00am)

4:30pm EST: 1989 ALCS Game 4 -- Toronto @ Oakland Featuring Rickey Henderson Hitting Two Home Runs (replayed Monday at 3:00pm EST)

Monday, January 12

2:ooPM EST: MLB Network Special (Live) -- Hall of Fame Election

8:00PM EST: Prime 9 -- A Countdown Show Featuring the All-Time Top 9 Characters of the Game (not sure if Rickey will be included, but there's a chance he may be)

9:00PM EST: MLB Network Special -- Hall of Fame - Class of '09

If anyone can tape these, please send me an e-mail to let me know. Thanks in advance for everyones help!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Response from Mr. Corky Simpson!

After hearing about Rickey being left off of a Corky Simpsons' Hall of Fame ballot (which is discussed in detail on my previous post), I went to try and locate Mr. Simpson's contact information, so that I could get his side of the story. After receiving his e-mail address from someone at the Green Valley News & Sun, I sent him the following e-mail.

Mr. Simpson,

I'm sure you are being inundated with requests for your time, since it was released that you had left Rickey Henderson off of your Hall of Fame ballot. But, I would really appreciate it if you could take some time to answer a few of my questions.

I have run a Rickey Henderson focused blog for the past year titled Rickey Henderson Collectibles. After reading the article describing the 8 ballplayers who you had voted for, I am intrigued by the fact that Rickey was not included on that list, and was relegated to the list of "others" that might be also inducted. You do not make any mention of your exclusion of Rickey, and I would really be interested (and so would the readers of my blog) in learning your reasoning behind voting the way that you did.

I understand that everyone has the right to vote in the way that they deem appropriate, but I would love to receive further insight inside your Hall of Fame selection process / criteria. I really hope to hear back from you soon, and look forward to talking with you. Thanks for your time, and your understanding of my interest in this subject.

Thanks again,


No less than 30 minutes later, I received the following response from Mr. Simpson (with his permission to publish his comments on my blog):

Brad: I can't think of any good reason I didn't vote for Rickey Henderson. The eight men I did vote for are all very deserving. Rickey is, too. So, if it is essential that he should enter the Hall of Fame on a unanimous ballot, then I goofed things up.

Some day some historian will attempt to find out why 11 voters failed to give Babe Ruth unanimity when he was elected to the Hall of Fame. In that same class of '36, Ty Cobb missed unanimity by four votes, Honus Wagner 11, Walter Johnson 37 and Christy Mathewson 23. Why did Willie Mays miss by 23, Mickey Mantle 43, Jackie Robinson 36 and Cal Ripken Jr. by eight?

When I was a kid, there were three giants who walked the earth: Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Stan Musial. None made it to the Hall of Fame unanimously. Joe missed by 28 votes, Ted Williams by 20 and Musial 23.

Why? Well, a bunch of people goofed up.

Rickey made about $41 million in his career, I think, and he'll be in the Hall of Fame. What a wonderful life he has had.

Hope I've helped you, Brad.-- Corky Simpson

I really appreciate the fact that he responded to my request, considering the news story that this has become, with mentions in ESPN, USA Today, and the San Francisco Chronicle to name a few. I'm don't agree with his rationale, but at least attempted to back up his decision.

Rickey Will NOT Be Unanimously Inducted!

I apologize in advance for the length of this rant (and the abundance of text), but I've just got to get it out. I've been waiting for this moment for awhile now, as I knew it would be inevitable, but it still has me all riled up. Through the wonders of Google Alerts, I've been following everything Rickey Henderson related, especially articles by sportswriters who've disclosed their votes for this years National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees. Rickey has been listed on every one of those ballots, until today that is.

One of the Alerts this morning was an article by Rob Neyer of ESPN titled "No Hall of Fame Vote for Rickey...Why?" It was obvious that someone had publicly announced that they had left Rickey off of their Hall of Fame ballot. That someone was Corky Simpson of the Green Valley News & Sun in Arizona. Corky wrote an article back on December 9 which announced who he had voted for. That shows you how small of a paper the GVN&S is, since it took almost a month for anyone in the mainstream media to actually notice.

Mr. Simpson voted to induct eight ballplayers into the Hall of Fame (Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Alan Trammell, and Matt Willilams), but Rickey was inexplicably absent for the list (and barely even warranted a mention).

It's Tim Raines' name that really sticks out from that list, considering the logical comparisons that arise between himself and Rickey. In explaining his vote for Raines he says he was a 7-time all-star outfielder, 1986 NL batting champion, and 4 time base-stealing champ. Rickey was a 10-time all-star outfielder, won the AL MVP award in 1990 (he was runner up for the batting title, 4 points behind Hall of Famer George Brett), and was the stolen base champion 12 times (including every year from 1980-1991 except 1987).

My first thought when I saw his ballot, was that he was one of the sportswriters who just refused to vote for anyone on the ballot for the first time. Ever since the first Hall of Fame induction class, when neither Ruth, Cobb, or Honus Wagner were inducted unanimously, future voters felt that no one else should receive 100% of the vote (Tom Seaver has come the closest, missing only 5 votes in 1992).

But, this is not the case with Mr. Simpson, as he voted for Matt Williams, who is also on the ballot for the first time. In describing Williams, he says, "Nobody ever played the game with more intensity, nor with more reverence for the sport. He was the inspirational leader of the 2001 World Series champion D’backs."

This is notable for two reasons: 1) Williams was one of the long list of players named in the Mitchell Report, which doesn't sound like "reverence" to me, and 2) since when does being an "inspirational leader" garner someone induction into the Hall of Fame? Rickey was the ALCS MVP in 1989, during the A's eventually World Series victory over the Giants. He also hit .474 with an OBP over .500 in the World Series itself, providing much more than "emotional" support for his team.

Rickey is finally mentioned by Mr. Simpson, as almost an afterthought at the end of his article. After discussing his regret over not being able to vote for Mark McGwire due to his steroid implications (ignoring the fact that Matt Williams was implicated as well), he includes a paragraph of players who "may well be voted into the Hall of Fame."

"Others honored with nomination this year and who may well be voted into the Hall of Fame, include Harold Baines, Jay Bell, David Cone, Ron Gant, Mark Grace, Rickey Henderson, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Jesse Orosco, Dave Parker, Dan Plesac, Lee Smith, Greg Vaughn and Mo Vaughn."

There's a pretty good chance that most of these players (aside from possibly Mark Grace, Dale Murphy, and Lee Smith) will garner enough votes to even remain on the ballot this year, let alone enough to actually be inducted. Leaving Rickey's name off his ballot, and relegated to a list of "others" is incomprehensible, and I'd love to hear an explanation of Mr. Simpsons' rationale for voting the way that he did.

Mr. Simpson is a lifetime honorary member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, which means he gets to vote for Hall of Fame inductees for the rest of his life. I now hope that at least one other sportswriter leaves Rickey off the ballot, so that Corky is not the only one who kept Rickey from being the first unanimous selection in the history of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Only One More Week to Go!

Only one week from today (Monday, January 12th), barring a totally unforeseen voting travesty, Rickey Henderson will finally be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. There's been quite a few articles written lately by Hall voters, describing why they are voting the way that they are, with Rickey always considered automatic. But, even so, there will still be that one pesky voter who leaves him off the ballot (although I really hope that doesn't happen). If that is the case, I'd love to get an interview with the guy on the blog, and let him tell us why he voted the way that he did.

Being a numbers guy myself, my favorite of these articles (although it doesn't sound like he actually gets a vote himself) was written by Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated. I'm going to excerpt the most interesting segments below, but the whole article can be found here.
Unlike most posts on this blog, this post is entirely text, so if you're looking for pictures, you'll have to hold out until next time.

"OK, so that takes us to Rickey Henderson. You already know that Henderson holds the major league record for most stolen bases with 1,406 -- and that record isn't getting broken for a long, long time. You know who is the active leader in stolen bases? Juan Pierre. You know how many he has? Four hundred and twenty nine. The guy is about ONE THOUSAND stolen bases shy of Rickey. That stolen base record is mind-bogging."

"Rickey Henderson is utterly unique; if the Hall of Fame is supposed to represent the greatest players in baseball history, then there simply is not a plausible reason I can think of to NOT vote for Henderson. He's not the greatest left fielder in baseball history -- not with Williams and Bonds on the list -- but he IS the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, and if you were putting together an all-time team you should probably find a way to have Rickey Henderson at the top of the lineup. I would love to hear explanations from those who will not vote for Rickey; you know, something other than the "Well nobody has ever been voted in unanimously" tripe."

Top 10 Unintentional Walks Leaders
1. Rickey Henderson, 2,129
2. Babe Ruth, 2,062
3. Ted Williams, 1,935
4. Barry Bonds, 1,870
5. Joe Morgan, 1,789
6. Mel Ott, 1,708
7. Yaz, 1,655
8. Mickey Mantle, 1,607
9. Eddie Yost, 1,599
10. Lou Gehrig, 1,508

Note: Intentional walks were not always tracked, so this reflects total walks for Ruth, Otto, and Gehrig.

Although Rickey trails Barry Bonds by 368 total walks, if you remove intentional walks from the equation, Rickey now holds the all-time record by 67 walks over Babe Ruth. Rickey had a total of 61 intentional walks in his career, while Bonds had 688, over ten times more.

"The unintentional walk obviously is a different weapon; it is earning a base that the other team did not want to give up. It can frustrate pitchers, it can change the tone of a game, and nobody ever drew more unintentional walks than Rickey.

And think about this: Pitchers REALLY did not want to walk Rickey, for all the obvious reasons. I mean, Ted Williams, sure, walking him often made sense; I suspect that most pitchers did not kick themselves for walking Ted Williams. But Rickey -- he was probably going to steal second on you, maybe steal third. Even if he didn't steal, he was going to create all sorts of tension. Nobody WANTED to walk Rickey Henderson."

And finally, my favorite statistic from the article, and one that is pretty hard to imagine:

"Rickey Henderson walked 796 times in his career LEADING OFF AN INNING. Think about this again. There would be nothing, absolutely nothing, a pitcher would want to avoid more than walking Rickey Henderson to lead off an inning. And yet he walked SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY SIX times to lead off an inning.

He walked more times just leading off an in inning than Lou Brock, Roberto Clemente, Luis Aparicio, Ernie Banks, Kirby Puckett, Ryne Sandberg and more than 50 other Hall of Famers walked in their entire careers."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

One Year Anniversary and 100 Posts!

It was on this date, exactly one year ago, that I decided it would be fun to put together a blog chronicling my Rickey Henderson collection. I wasn't sure how I would continue after that first post, but 100 posts later, I think I've come along way. I realized when putting together yesterdays post that this one would be number 100, which I thought was kind of an odd coincidence, but rather appropriate. Averaging about two Rickey Henderson related posts per week over the past year worked out well, and is a pattern I hope to continue.

I would never have imagined all of the people I have met, and friends I have made, in the card blogging community. I want to thank everyone that has left comments on my posts, and sent unexpected packages my way, they are all very much appreciated. Although I never expect to get as many visitors as Wax Heaven or Cardboard Junkie, it is nice to know that I have some readers out there, and that others can share my collection along with me.

This year is going to be an exciting on for me, as after almost a decade of waiting, I'm finally going to be able to see Rickey inducted into the Hall of Fame! I was in high school when I initially thought he might be ready to retire, and never imagined that I'd be married and have a son by the time he was finally inducted.

With the nature of this blog focused on Rickey, and only recently adding posts on my Oakland A's collection, it is not something that I have the time (or the material), to update daily. But, I hope to continue on with one to two posts a week, or more frequently as time and information allows.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2003 Topps Tribute Milestone Bats

As anyone who buys cards on eBay knows, it's often the price of shipping that turns a good deal into a bad one. As a result, buying cards in "lots" is always the way to go. But, it's not often that I run across anyone selling more than one game-used Rickey card in a single auction, and when I do, there's a good chance that I already have one or more of them.

What a nice surprise it was when I ran across this auction for five Topps Tribute cards, all of which I needed. They were being offered at a very reasonable Buy It Now price, and I wasted no time in snapping them up. The full name of this insert set is 2003 Topps Tribute Contemporary Milestone Materials Relics, which is quite a mouthful. This is the full set of five Milestone Materials bat relics, each celebrating a different milestone in Rickey's career (there is a jersey relic as well), so it was not to get them all at once.

MIM-RH1 -- 1,000 Career RBI's

MIM-RH2 -- 1,400 Career Stolen Bases

MIM-RH3 -- 2,000 Career Runs

MIM-RH4 -- 3,000 Career Hits

MIM-RH5 -- 500 Career Doubles

Friday, January 2, 2009

Rickey in the Newspaper

I know I'm a little late in posting this, but better late than never. With the Hall of Fame induction results coming out shortly, interest in Rickey has definitely be picking up. What a nice surprise it was to open up my local paper (the Sacramento Bee) the day after Christmas, and see a nice big picture of Rickey on the inside of the sports page.

Since the font of the article is a little small (you can read it if you click the picture), here's a link to an expanded version of the same article (originally published in the Contra Costa Times).

It's been many years since I've actually read an article about Rickey in the daily paper, and it was kind of fun. There will naturally be plenty more articles in the near future, with his impending induction into the Hall. If any readers out there happen to see any commemorative Rickey pull-outs in their local paper, please don't hesitate to let me know. I'm expecting that Rickey Henderson memorabilia will pick up in the coming months, and I don't want to miss out on anything cool!