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  • Rickey being Rickey!

    This Rickey Henderson article made me almost bust a gut!

    Life on Planet Rickey

    By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports
    March 28, 2006

    JUPITER, Fla. – Rickey Henderson is still delusional.

    Phew.

    An injection of Rickey every so often is good for the soul. It reminds us that personalities make baseball great, and Rickey – lip-flapping, self-aggrandizing and earnestly narcissistic to the end – is an all-timer.

    Just ask him.

    "Teams won't give me tryouts because most of them know I'll make the club," Rickey said Tuesday, on assignment here as a baserunning coach for the New York Mets. "If I don't make a club, I know I'm done. But I've still got that question mark. Look out here."

    Rickey gazed around Roger Dean Stadium.

    "I can play with these kids."

    Maybe that was code for "most of them could actually be my kids."

    Rickey is 47, and he is serious about coming back, even if no one else is. Rickey believes someone needs him. And he's right.

    We need Rickey's innocence.

    He popped out of the dugout Tuesday wearing a gleaming Mets uniform, a warmup jacket and a hat. He stretched with the players and laughed with them. He trotted around the outfield and wore Endy Chavez's glove.

    Rickey looked like he belonged because for so long he did. He played for 25 years with nine teams. He still owns the major-league records for runs, walks, stolen bases and third-person references.

    "In life, you're here for a reason," Rickey said. "This is my reason. I've been blessed to have this body. I've been blessed to never have a surgery. As much as I hit that ground, never. I didn't burn out. I can play."

    We need Rickey's motor.

    Rickey wakes up at about 6 a.m. and runs four or five miles, busting through the hills around San Francisco. He's got about as much fat on him as a filet mignon.

    Last season, he played for the San Diego Surf Dawgs in the independent Golden Baseball League. Rickey was second in the eight-team (now six-team) league in on-base percentage and hit five home runs in 73 games. He stole 16 bases.

    With all the running he did – 1,406 career stolen bases, almost 500 more than runner-up Lou Brock – his fingers are intact and his nails are in manicure-worthy shape.

    Rickey's grandmother lived to 98, and he thinks he could play another five, six years.

    "What, time ran out all of a sudden?" he said. "Please."

    We need Rickey's flamboyance.

    Throughout the Mets' pregame workouts, Rickey sported a diamond-encrusted watch on his right wrist. He talked so fast he sounded like a carnival barker. He strutted to assert himself as the preeminent 47-year-old on the premises.

    There was another. Julio Franco is still playing, too, and Rickey couldn't seem to understand how Franco received a two-year contract with the Mets and he can't even get a minor-league deal.

    "He hasn't accomplished as much as I have, and that's why he got it," Rickey said. "I know I have way more tools than he has."

    We need Rickey's bluntness.

    An exchange between an autograph-seeking fan and Rickey on Tuesday:

    "Rickey, I've been a fan of yours for so long."

    "I believe you."

    "Can I have your autograph?"

    "No."

    "No?"

    "Remember me as a player?"

    "Yeah."

    "Well, I'm a coach now. And I gotta coach."

    And Rickey laughed like mad.

    We need Rickey being Rickey.

    The day Rickey starts making sense, we're all doomed. Rickey claiming he no longer can play baseball could throw the planet's equilibrium into a dysfunctional state. Barry Bonds might actually tell the truth.

    Before Manny was ever Manny, Rickey was Rickey. He would talk in the third-person – a running gag, he now says – and toss out all kinds of malaprops. Like Tuesday, when he called it "talking in the third party." Or, as legend has it, when he was sitting on a bus with the Padres, and Steve Finley told him to take any seat because he had tenure.

    "Ten year?" Rickey said. "Rickey's got 17 years."


    We need Rickey.

    It's that simple, really. Even though Rickey can't play – and he showed that by hitting .233 or worse with limited power his last four seasons – he's like that inappropriate uncle: You never stop shaking your head at him, but if he wasn't around, you'd miss him.

    Soon enough, Rickey will be gone from baseball. In 2009, Rickey will earn first-ballot entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and he'll grace us once more with his, um, wisdom. So appreciate him. Because by then, hopefully, he will realize that he's unwanted but not unloved, that he no longer needs to seek employment through bait-and-switch maneuvers.

    "I thought maybe I'd come out here and trick 'em," Rickey said. "They'd look at me, give me a glove and say, Go play.' "

    Yeah, Rickey's delusional, all right. And we wouldn't want it any other way.


    Yahoo! Sports' national baseball writer Jeff Passan previously was the national baseball writer for the Kansas City Star.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slu...yhoo&type=lgns

    Is Rickey the new Yogi Berra?
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  • #2
    is rickey the new yogi?
    nah. rickey be rickey.

    "ten year? rickey's got 17 years."
    "you don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. just get people to stop reading them." -ray bradbury

    Comment


    • #3
      In my psychology class we were talking about how baseball players find it very difficult to retire. I guess this is a perfect example of what my teacher was talking about.
      Yankees '09

      Arod, CC, AJ, DJ and Tex

      Comment


      • #4
        It might also be a perfect example of a man's love for the game.

        We can laugh at him all we want, but at the end of the day I would much rather have Rickey being Rickey than Barry being Barry.

        I'm not trying to draw parallels between the two; I'm just giving credit where credit is due.

        Ah..maybe I am.
        Last edited by runningshoes; 03-29-2006, 04:06 AM.
        "I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don't think about it is when I'm playing it."
        Carl Yastrzemski

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by runningshoes53
          It might also be a perfect example of a man's love for the game.
          It's true...he doesn't need the money, doesn't need the fame...he just loves to play. Ya gotta respect that.

          Sure beats the way some guys talk these days about retiring early and going off fishing somewhere or whatever.

          We need the Rickey Hendersons, the Bill Lees, and the Oil Can Boyds of the world, the guys who play for the love.
          Visit my card site at Mike D's Baseball Card Page.

          Comment


          • #6
            Like Rickey, I don't understand why Julio Franco gets a two-year contract and Rickey gets nothing? If Rickey could convert to 1B, I imagine that over the course of a season, he'd be just about as useful as Franco, maybe ever moreso.

            I like Rickey. I know a lot of people have called him selfish, but I don't know if I have ever seen a player with more love for the game. He just wants to play. It's not about money, not about fame, it's about playing baseball; it's who he is. You gotta respect that, especially in this day in age.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DoubleX
              Like Rickey, I don't understand why Julio Franco gets a two-year contract and Rickey gets nothing? If Rickey could convert to 1B, I imagine that over the course of a season, he'd be just about as useful as Franco, maybe ever moreso.

              I like Rickey. I know a lot of people have called him selfish, but I don't know if I have ever seen a player with more love for the game. He just wants to play. It's not about money, not about fame, it's about playing baseball; it's who he is. You gotta respect that, especially in this day in age.
              How well does Henderson communicate with his teammates. Is he a surrogate coach? One of the things you hear about Franco is the positive impact he has made with the younger players on the team. They say that is as valuable, if not moreso, as his ability to still hit major league pitching.
              Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
              Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
              Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
              Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
              Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DoubleX
                Like Rickey, I don't understand why Julio Franco gets a two-year contract and Rickey gets nothing? If Rickey could convert to 1B, I imagine that over the course of a season, he'd be just about as useful as Franco, maybe ever moreso.

                I like Rickey. I know a lot of people have called him selfish, but I don't know if I have ever seen a player with more love for the game. He just wants to play. It's not about money, not about fame, it's about playing baseball; it's who he is. You gotta respect that, especially in this day in age.
                Franco from age 42 on has been a much better player than Rickey. Rickey's last stop with the Dodgers was a failure. Franco is still hitting at a pretty high level and Rickey cannot. Why do people assume that Rickey would be a better player than Franco right now if he was simply given a chance? There is no evidence that Rickey would be even an average player today. He skills are gone. In the last four years Franco has hit .284, .294, .309, and .275 with a slugging percentage in the mid .400s in three of those years. His OBP in the last four years have been .357, .372, .378, and .348. Rickey can't do that. Let's not get carried away here. Franco has been a back up player the past four years but a very effective one at that. What Franco is doing is historically unique. There is no precedent for what he is doing.
                Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                Comment


                • #9
                  Rickey is a great example of media spin. Before he was selfish because that is what the media wrote/talked about. Now he is "eccentric" and "refreshing".
                  Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
                    Franco from age 42 on has been a much better player than Rickey. Rickey's last stop with the Dodgers was a failure. Franco is still hitting at a pretty high level and Rickey cannot. Why do people assume that Rickey would be a better player than Franco right now if he was simply given a chance? There is no evidence that Rickey would be even an average player today. He skills are gone. In the last four years Franco has hit .284, .294, .309, and .275 with a slugging percentage in the mid .400s in three of those years. His OBP in the last four years have been .357, .372, .378, and .348. Rickey can't do that. Let's not get carried away here. Franco has been a back up player the past four years but a very effective one at that. What Franco is doing is historically unique. There is no precedent for what he is doing.
                    You're judging Rickey's last appearance in the big leagues on 70 late-season ABs. That's hardly indicative of anything. Give Rickey a chance out of spring-training, 200-300 ABs like Franco, and I don't think there would be much of a difference in production between the two. Franco would have a higher BA, they would have about the same OBP, and power is probably about a push. Like Franco, Rickey is still in tip-top condition for his age. Thing is Rickey can only play OF, where he's pretty bad now, but Franco can backup at 1B which opens up a role for him.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KCGHOST
                      Rickey is a great example of media spin. Before he was selfish because that is what the media wrote/talked about. Now he is "eccentric" and "refreshing".
                      As Albert Einstein said, "It's all relavtive."

                      Sure Rickey's always been full of himself, but he's also something that many, including Barroids, are not - He's likable. He's bragadocious and loud, but not smug at all. Actually he reminds me of Flavor Flave in a baseball uniform. If I had to bet on who's going to die at age 105 on the field in a baseball uniform in some capacity or another, it would be either Tommy Lasorda at Vero Beach or Rickey Henderson coaching somewhere... still claiming, even with his walker and oxygen tank, that he can still play with the kids.

                      Baseball needs more Rickeys.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Elvis9045
                        As Albert Einstein said, "It's all relavtive."

                        Sure Rickey's always been full of himself, but he's also something that many, including Barroids, are not - He's likable. He's bragadocious and loud, but not smug at all. Actually he reminds me of Flavor Flave in a baseball uniform. If I had to bet on who's going to die at age 105 on the field in a baseball uniform in some capacity or another, it would be either Tommy Lasorda at Vero Beach or Rickey Henderson coaching somewhere... still claiming, even with his walker and oxygen tank, that he can still play with the kids.

                        Baseball needs more Rickeys.
                        Ah Elvis, I used to have so much respect for you.h
                        I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a Hell of an Engineer!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DoubleX
                          You're judging Rickey's last appearance in the big leagues on 70 late-season ABs. That's hardly indicative of anything. Give Rickey a chance out of spring-training, 200-300 ABs like Franco, and I don't think there would be much of a difference in production between the two. Franco would have a higher BA, they would have about the same OBP, and power is probably about a push. Like Franco, Rickey is still in tip-top condition for his age. Thing is Rickey can only play OF, where he's pretty bad now, but Franco can backup at 1B which opens up a role for him.
                          Since 2000 in 1050 major league ABs Rickey has hit .228. Is there any reason to believe that Rickey, now older, can do better than that. Every day Rickey ages his physical skills are eroding, strength, eye-sight, hand-eye coordination, etc.
                          Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 03-29-2006, 01:48 PM.
                          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Elvis9045
                            As Albert Einstein said, "It's all relavtive."

                            Sure Rickey's always been full of himself, but he's also something that many, including Barroids, are not - He's likable. He's bragadocious and loud, but not smug at all. Actually he reminds me of Flavor Flave in a baseball uniform. If I had to bet on who's going to die at age 105 on the field in a baseball uniform in some capacity or another, it would be either Tommy Lasorda at Vero Beach or Rickey Henderson coaching somewhere... still claiming, even with his walker and oxygen tank, that he can still play with the kids.

                            Baseball needs more Rickeys.
                            Wow, in his prime Rickey was very unlikable. When did this change happen? I think Rickey is likable now because he is a reminder of another baseball era.
                            Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 04-03-2006, 02:38 PM.
                            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KCGHOST
                              Rickey is a great example of media spin. Before he was selfish because that is what the media wrote/talked about. Now he is "eccentric" and "refreshing".
                              Nice point, although I would suggest that the previous impression of Rickey was more of a spin than today's media portrayal. It was fun to hate the A's back then. The only thing that is for sure is that Rickey's actions speak much louder than any of his words. His actions speak to his love of baseball. Just compare Rickey's actions to that of Sammy Sosa?

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