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!