Monday, January 12, 2009
CLAIM TO FAME: EX-MET AND ALL-TIME STOLEN BASE KING HENDERSON LIKELY TO BE VOTED INTO HALL TODAY
In just more than 60 minutes from now, it's expected to be Rickey Time, as an announcement is expected to made that former Met Rickey Henderson -- who helped lead the Mets into the 1999 post-season -- has been voted into the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The charismatic Henderson, who often refers to himself in third person, is Major League Baseball's All-Time stolen base champion, with 1,406 and established a single-season record for stolen bases in 1982 with 130. Henderson also banged out 3,055 hits and scored 2,295 runs.
The announcement will is scheduled to air live today at 1:30 p.m. on MLB Network.
Here are some other impressive notes on Henderson's resume: He was a 10-time All-Star; won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1990; won the American league Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award in 1989; won a Gold Glove Award in 1981; won three Silver Slugger Awards; finished in the top five in batting average three times and drew 2,190 walks. he also won World Series rings in 1989 with Oakland and in 1993 with Toronto.
The Mets signed him as a free agent to a two-year contract after the 1998 season and made a huge impact. At age 40, Henderson led Mets regulars with a .315 batting average, hit 12 homers, knocked in 42 runs and stole 37 bases. Arguably, it was Henderson's last strong full season before he retired after the 2003 season. Henderson turned red hot at the end of the 1999 season, swatting a home run in the Mets 5-0 Wild Card tie-breaker win over the Cincinnati Reds and then going 6-for-15 and swiping six bases to help the Mets defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks three games to one in the National League Division Series.
But it was in the National League Championship Series that year that things went sour. Henderson managed only a 4-for-23 showing at the plate and his commitment was publicly questioned by teammate Turk Wendell. Henderson's behavior during Game 6 -- an extra-inning heartbreaking loss -- further bolstered Wendell's accusation that Henderson was a selfish player. After being removed from that game, Henderson was later discovered by teammates in the clubhouse, playing cards with teammate Bobby Bonilla.
That had then-manager Bobby Valentine seething. In the 2000 season, Henderson infuriated Valentine by appearing not to hustle after hitting balls into play. It was reported that Valentine took an ultimatum to then-General Manager Steve Phillips that if Henderson wasn't released, he would resign. Henderson was released after hitting just .219 in 31 games.
Henderson returned to the Mets in 2007 as the team's first-base coach and has often been a Mets baserunning instructor in Spring Training.
Posted by Gil Griffin at 11:50 AM