Today is the 55th birthday of my childhood idol. Rickey Nelson Henley Henderson.
The Man of Steal. He was the all time stolen base leader and the greatest leadoff hitter of all time. I can’t think of any position or spot in a lineup where you can say that about a baseball player and not get twenty other names from twenty other people. Maybe it’s a bold statement, but I don’t think there really is an argument for his greatness at the leadoff position. Fielding…eh…not the greatest.
He was the reason I became a Yankee fan (but still secretly love the A’s) and the reason why I wear #24 any chance I get. Whenever people asked me in a confused manner, “Why are you a Yankees fan?” They are only more confused after I tell them because of Rickey Henderson…I’m a very loyal fan and hitched my wagon to the Yanks in 1985. I was 9 and there was no going back as far as I was concerned.
He was also the reason I fell in love with baseball and insisted on stealing as many bases as i could in little league. I also stole them by sliding head first. The coaches never liked it, but the one time I went in feet first I rolled my ankle and got a nasty strawberry…never jammed my wrist sliding head first thank you very much!
He may not have been the greatest teammate of all time and maybe he was a little self absorbed…or aloof 🙂 But he is a Hall of Famer and remains my all time favorite athlete.
This will always be my favorite card. I purchased this with $12 of my allowance money from the West Avenue Card Shop in San Antonio, Texas over the summer of 1986. Funny story about the West Ave. Card Shop…a few years after I purchased this card along with many others through the years, they were busted for buying and selling large amounts of cocaine. I guess they were using the card shop as a way to launder their drug money…and here I just thought they had bad allergies with all the sniffing and wiping of their noses. They were just coke-heads.
Happy Birthday Rickey Henderson as I’m sure you are reading this wonderful post about you on your day of birth that you share with baby Jesus. I hope everyone out there has a wonderful Christmas! Stay safe and keep collecting!