Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rickey Will Sign Bras and Shell Casings, But Not Bases

Here's a great video from the recent TriStar National Sports Collectors Convention.  ESPN reporter Michele Steele asks Rickey about his dealing with the memorabilia industry over the years, which leads to the discussion of some of the weirder things that he has signed over the years (ie construction helmets, bras, and bullets). 

She also asks him why he won't sign bases, which is a questions that I am frequently asked as well.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

1976 California North/South All-Star Game Postcard

One of the great things about having a website like this is that other Rickey collectors send you pictures of some of their favorite and unique items, which can then be shared with other fans who may have never even known that they existed.  Everyone knows about Rickey's hard to find 1977 Chong Modesto A's Minor League card, and about a year ago a sticker from his time with the 1978-79 Mexican Pacific League was discovered.  But, Rickey's first "card" may be this postcard produced for the 1976 Calfornia High School North/South All-Star Game.

Following the high school season, Rickey was selected as a member of the North squad, which met up in Anaheim to play the team from the South.  

Looks like Rickey was wearing #22, which he also wore for a couple of games with the A's when he was traded back from the Yankees in the middle of the 1989 season.

The "photo post cards" are identified on the back by what looks like two different individuals (one in pen, the other in pencil).  One states "Rickey Henderson, Calif All Stars," while the other just says "Ricky Henderson 76."  I'm actually surprised that his name was spelled right once, as it's almost always misspelled "Ricky" in his early memorabilia.

Rickey wasn't the only future all-star who played in the game, as it also included a young Alan Trammell.  Trammell actually commented on the game in an ESPN article from around the time of Rickey's Hall of Fame induction, one of the only mentions of the game that I was actually able to find.  

It's funny how baseball keeps bringing him back full circle. In the summer of 1976, Henderson played in a California high school All-Star Game in Anaheim. He was part of the North team roster, and the South squad featured a talented young shortstop named Alan Trammell. 

"He led off the game with a double," Trammell said. "We had a scouting report on Rickey, so on the first pitch we did an inside move and picked him off second." 

In 2001, Trammell was a coach in San Diego, and Henderson notched career hit No. 3,000 with the Padres that season. In their limited time together, Trammell saw a side of Rickey that he never could have discerned from crowding the second base bag. 

"He never complained once when he didn't play, and the young players loved him," Trammell said. "He was just a regular guy there. I saw that firsthand."

Listed below are the remaining players in the 32 card set.  As far as I know, this is the only set that has surfaced, as I don't know of any other collectors that have one.  I doubt that many of these were purchased (apart from by the players parents), and there's a pretty good chance that none of them were actually mailed.  Who knows how many of these were produced, but there are probably only a handful in existence.

I wasn't able to find out much information about the game itself.  You would think that the archives of the LA Times of the Orange County Register might at least have a box score or a short mention, but I haven't been able to track one down.  If anyone has any information about the postcards, or the game in general, I 'd definitely love to hear it!
1. Bill Bordley
2. Dave Cicero
3. Doug Elliott
4. Herb Fauland
5. Frank Ferroni
6. Jim Flores
7. Doug Frost
8. Dave Gerst
9. Tye Green
10. Mike Griffin
11. Steve Guengerich
12. Rickey Henderson
13. Mike Hunter
14. Ed Irvine
15. Jerry Joyce
16. Larry Kuhn
17. Larry Lee
18. Jose Martinez
19. Dan Miller
20. Kevin Miller
21. Kevin Oerst
22. Russ Ohrenschell
23. Walt Pierce
24. Randy Puckett
25. Roger Rees
26. Carlton Roberts
27. Don Slaught
28. Alan Trammell
29. John Violette
30. Jeff Walsh
31. Stan Williams
32. Paul Zegler

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Q&A with Rickey -- Collectors Query the Man of Steal

I just realized that it's been almost two months since my last post, but this one is pretty fun, so hopefully it will be worth the wait.  Be sure to read all the way to the end, as the last question is pretty exciting!

I'm sure that most player collectors have questions they have always wanted to ask, but have never been given the opportunity.  Fellow Rickey fan Kent was recently able to ask Rickey a few questions (through his manager) that give a little more insight into the Man of Steal.  The questions and answers are below, followed by my comments in italics.

Q: Besides the A's, what was your 2nd favorite organization/city to play for? Why?
A: New York Yankees, just a fun team to be part of.

Q: Was there any particular team/city you really wanted to play for, but never got the opportunity?
A: Baltimore, always hit well there, and almost came to town in a trade for Storm Davis but it fell through.
Not sure when this trade was contemplated, but Storm Davis only played for Baltimore from 1982-1986.  Might the A's have traded him to Baltimore following the 1984 season, instead of the Yankees?  Davis was eventually traded to the Padres in October 1986 for Terry Kennedy and Mark Williamson (definitely not Rickey), and the A's finally picked him up prior to the trade deadline in 1987.  Once Rickey came back to the A's for their World Series run in 1989, they both actually ended up playing for the same team (Davis went 19-7 in 1989, the best year of his career).

Q: What is your most memorable defensive play that you made?
A: His first snatch catch was the last out of a no hitter.
This would have to be September 29, 1983, when the A's Mike Warren no-hit the Chicago White Sox.  Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk hit a fly ball to left field, for what would be the last out of the game, clinching the no-hitter.  Warren made his Major League debut in 1983, recording the no-hitter with his last start of the year, and ending with a 5-3 record.  He would only go on to pitch two more years with the A's, compiling a 9-13 career record, and never playing again after the A's released him following the 1985 season.

Q: As a successful running back in high school, do you have any regrets at all not choosing football over baseball? How far do you think you could have gotten playing football?
A: Football at the time was not an option because his mother Bobbi wouldn't allow it.
Despite being an All-American, Rickey also didn't want to wait through 4 years of college football in order to get to the pros.  He knew he could get their faster playing baseball, and I'm sure we're all glad that he did!

Q: What catcher scared you the most when you got on the base paths? Why?
A: Bob Boone.
There's a great post over on the The Baseball Cube from last year, breaking down Rickey's base stealing prowess against specific catchers.  Looks like he was right to be scared of Boone, as he threw him out the second most times of any other catcher (15, following only Lance Parrish with 17).  Boone also had the highest success rate (for catchers with at least 10 attempts), allowing Rickey to steal only 19 of 34 times (56%).

Q: What was your off-season training regimen like to stay in such amazing shape and keep those thighs so strong?
A: Running hills by his home in CA, high protein, sit ups and wrist curls.

Q: Where and how do you have all of your baseball trophies/awards displayed?
A: Many were destroyed in the Oakland Hills fire in the 80's, and many are at his other home in Ca.
Rickey's house was one of the 3,000+ that were destroyed by the  Oakland Hills fire, along with fellow Oakland A's star Reggie Jackson. 

Q: Do you collect sports memorabilia at all? Any of your own? Why or why not?
A: Not really his own, he loves anything from Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and his favorite Don Mattingly.
Who knew that Mattingly was Rickey's favorite player?  Considering the others that he's mentioned with, I think he's in pretty good company.  I also find it interesting that Rickey chose a contemporary, and a teammate, as his favorite player.

Q: What are your favorite hobbies outside of baseball?
A: Watching football, fishing and hanging with friends

Q: Lastly, I've been asked to inquire about an official "Rickey Henderson Fan Club" of sorts. Multiple collectors I've talked to have inquired about putting something together that was officially recognized by Rickey himself. What are your thoughts on that?
A: Within the next few months Rickey's wife Pam and I will be announcing his official fan club, its going to be great and full of cool stuff that only members can get a hold of, very cool stuff.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what they've come up with.  As soon as more information is available, I'll post what I find out, and promise not to take two months to actually write something up!