Players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame no longer get to choose which cap they’ll be depicted wearing in the bronze plaque that enshrines them. There’s no question that Jim Rice, who played his entire career for Boston, will be wearing a Red Sox cap.
But what about Rickey Henderson? In a 25-year major league career, he played for the Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Anaheim Angels, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers.
If there’s any debate, it’s between the A’s and the Yankees. He spent several years with each of those teams and only a season or two at most with the others. For me, there’s no question he should be enshrined as a member of the A’s, with whom he spent roughly half his career.
I think if you ask the average baseball fan what team Henderson played for, most fans would say “A’s” first.
I was fortunate to see Henderson tie Lou Brock’s single-season stolen base record at Milwaukee County Stadium in 1982. While I missed the next game, at which he broke the record, I got to cover a news conference he had the next morning.
While he always impressed me with his speed and hustle as a young player, I found him even more impressive in his 40s as he tried to hang on in the big leagues. He was playing Atlantic League ball for the Newark Bears when I last saw him on the field. It was in either 2003 or 2004 when I saw him get tossed out of a game against the Somerset Patriots for mouthing off to an ump.
For all his accomplishments, and his competitive fire, Rickey Henderson truly is a worthy member of the Hall of Fame.