Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
"Rickey wants to play another year, and he thinks he wants to play for you."
2005-05-09 09:33
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

You have to admire Rickey Henderson's passion for the game. He'll be back in uniform again this year in the new class-A Golden Baseball League as the left fielder of the San Diego Surf Dawgs. Terry Kennedy will be his manager.

Last summer, I caught Rickey in a Newark Bears game. He lead off the game with a walk, stole second, moved to third on the first out and scored on the second. It was the closest I'll ever come to watching Shoeless Joe tear up the South Carolina sandlots after being banned from the major leagues.

2005-05-09 10:06:27
1.   Nick from Washington Heights
Wouldn't Rickey come in handy as an outfielder back-up for the Yanks? Seems to me he's better than Bubba. No?
2005-05-09 10:12:03
2.   Cris E
If he's not better he'd at least play for the minimum and have enough name recognition for George and Joe T to put him on a roster.

The only downside is there's no way he could still handle center, especially in Yankee Stadium. Kind of puts a damper on the plan.

2005-05-09 10:12:41
3.   Dan M
Sad news, for me at least, as I work in Newark and was hoping to see Rickey again this summer. Last summer I saw him walk in his first three PAs of a game, then ground out in his fourth. As he walked back to the dugout, I yelled from the fifth row, "What, no walk?" and he replied, "Naaw, I got sick of that." One of my all-time favorite ballpark experiences.
2005-05-09 10:14:52
4.   Cliff Corcoran
No. Much as I love Rickey, his bat speed is a fuzzy memory, he's not played in the majors in two years and he's not going to improve at age 46. The Yankees need bench players who are either sure to contribute or have the potential to improve. He'd make a great first-base coach, though.
2005-05-09 10:38:04
5.   Alex Belth
Funny how Henderson went from being portrayed as an insufferable hot dog during his golden era, to a lovable, ever-quotable codger in the last three or four years.

He was one of my favorite Yankees while he played in the Bronx. My batting stance is those days was a combination of Rickey's and Dwight Evans'.

2005-05-09 10:42:07
6.   Rob
this is awesome! i've got to get tickets.
2005-05-09 10:47:47
7.   KJC
"Wouldn't Rickey come in handy as an outfielder back-up for the Yanks"

Isn't he a little young for the Yankees? ;)

2005-05-09 11:30:43
8.   Cliff Corcoran
Agreed, Alex, I always liked him. I didn't understand it when he was painted as a bad guy and was furious when he was traded back to Oakland. That was the beginning of the very rapid end of that Yankee team and the thing that put the A's over the top in '89.
2005-05-09 11:51:15
9.   rbj
Good for Rickey. He still loves the game and isn't too proud to play where ever he can. Funny, I was thinking about Rickey this morning and, in jest, wondering if George would bring him back.
2005-05-09 11:51:20
10.   Simone
Rickey's back! Good for him. Life is too short. Hope Rickey is still playing when he's 60.
2005-05-09 12:00:52
11.   brockdc

I'm not surprised that Hendu responded to you, but I am surprised that he didn't say, "Naaw, RICKEY got sick of that."

He's one of my all-time favorite Yankees, but he WAS an egomaniac. What I do find intriguing is how his greatness gets short shrift from an historical perspective, vis-a-vis other great athletes. For one, he's often referred to as the greatest leadoff hitter of all time but rarely referred to as one of the greatest players of all time.

2005-05-09 12:16:42
12.   Repoz
When Rickey played for the Yankees back in the 80's, he lived around the corner from me in a spensive condo hi-rise.

He stiffed the building on the rent, he never tipped (I knew a waitress at the local coffee shop) and he would skip off with an occassional free paper from the corner bodega.

Other than that...what a great guy!

Back in 1978 he was very nice to a Babe Ruth team that I brought down to Roosevelt Stadium (when it was still there...damn early career sprawling!) in Jersey City, when he was in the minors.

2005-05-09 12:47:30
13.   Cliff Corcoran
I do believe that Rickey has matured quite a bit. Are you the same person you were 20 years ago? That said, I'm also sure he's not Tony Clark.
2005-05-09 12:55:44
14.   Alex Belth
Piniella didn't help either. He thought Rickey was jaking it in 87 when Henderson suffered from bad hamstrings.
2005-05-09 12:59:01
15.   Jen
"My batting stance is those days was a combination of Rickey's and Dwight Evans'."

I used to try to emulate that stance Rickey took when leading off of a base. That, and the "snatch catch". Although my dad/coach wasn't too please with me trying to catch pop-ups like that.

2005-05-09 13:13:55
16.   Fred Vincy
I'd give him even odds to get on base more often than Womack, but it's also not fair to say the personality issues were a product of youth alone. He was wearing out his welcome complaining with the Mets in his 40s....
2005-05-09 13:20:39
17.   Cliff Corcoran
Ah, but Shea Stadium was built on an ancient Indian burial ground and it makes everyone who signs there into a bad person.

Meanwhile, I totally wiggle my fingers between my knees when I get ready to run the bases in softball.

2005-05-09 13:39:25
18.   Dan M
Another great Rickey moment for me was seeing him (during his 3rd tour with the A's) drop a ball trying to do the snap catch. The Bronx crowd was all over him, taunting him with a "Rickey dropped the ball" chant. That was in early in the game. Later on, in the 7th or 8th, for no reason, the crowd started the same chant out of nowhere. Funny as heck.

And "Hendu" was Dave Henderson, not Rickey, right?

2005-05-09 13:43:20
19.   Alex Belth
Hendu was Dave, not Rickey. I was never had the nerve to do the snatch catch in any kind of game, but tried it out fooling around plenty of times.
2005-05-09 13:43:21
20.   Alex Belth
Hendu was Dave, not Rickey. I was never had the nerve to do the snatch catch in any kind of game, but tried it out fooling around plenty of times.
2005-05-09 15:56:42
21.   singledd
You wonder if a no-quit veteran quy like Ricky might help out the Devil Rays? Its gotta be motivating to see a 46 year old guy running the bases.
2005-05-09 16:38:03
22.   rbj
I don't know what Rickey's like now, but putting him and Pinella on the same team?
2005-05-09 19:22:20
23.   Dave D
But Cliff, isn't Ricky a better option in left than Womack? Better OBP, at least similar speed and power. If Julio Franco can contribute at 47, I wonder if it isn't worth a shot. The rational part of me understands it wouldn't work of course, I'm just pining for the past.
2005-05-09 20:49:33
24.   brockdc
True, Dave Henderson was the "real" Hendu, but I also recall people (and by people I mean my high school cronies, back in the day) calling him Hendu. My error.

I tried using Rickey's stance in Wiffle Ball, but I popped up way too much with it. I was far more comfortable mimicking Pags and Mattingly.

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