If I’m not mistaken, December 25 is the day that friends and family gather together to celebrate the birth of Rickey Henderson. I’m still not sure why we exchange presents but who am I to buck trends? I don’t get the reindeer references either. Are they especially fast like Rickey? Either way, Rickey Henley Henderson was born December 25, 1958 but doesn’t look a day over 83-years-old.
Henderson hit .183/.343/.261 over the 144 plate appearances he got with the Angels in 1997. Rickey did manage to steal 16 bases in those 32 games though and finished his career with the MLB record of 1,406 career swipes. He ultimately fell short of his goal to play for every Major League team and half of the Independent League teams.
While Rickey’s pit stop with the Angels is forgettable, let’s not overlook his greatness on this holy day. Widely regarded as the greatest leadoff hitter in the sport’s rich history, Henderson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2009. Not only was Henderson the all time leader of speaking in the third person but he is the leader in steals, runs (2,295), unintentional walks (2,129) and leadoff home runs (81!). On the other hand, he was quite good at getting caught stealing and holds that record with 335. Henderson was also the 1989 ALCS MVP, the 1990 AL MVP, a 10 time All Star and two time World Series champ. The career .279/.401/.419 batting line isn’t too shabby either.
So between the opening of presents, eating of cookies and singing of carols, don’t forget to wish your loved ones a very merry Rickey Henderson Birthday.
Why, is that mistletoe? If you’ll excuse me, I’m about to get caught stealing second.