LADY AT THE BAT: Monday Is Rickey Henderson Day (Finally)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Monday Is Rickey Henderson Day (Finally)

Rickey Henderson has finally stayed away from the game long enough to be on the Hall Of Fame Ballot. You may remember that he kept coming out of retirement, pushing his Hall Of Fame election back in the process. On Monday he'll get voted into Cooperstown and, like so many others, I simply cannot wait to hear his induction speech.

I remember when Rickey was a Yankee back in the 80s. There was one game in particular that will never fail to stand out for me. The Yankees were playing the Baltimore Orioles at The Stadium. I don't recall who was pitching but Rick Dempsey was behind the plate for Baltimore. Rickey came up to bat and got on base. I started watching Dempsey very closely. You could tell he was very agitated and preoccupied with Rickey being on base. After a few pitches, Rickey took off and stole second base easily. Dempsey became even more agitated and preoccupied.

Suddenly, Dempsey didn't look the same. I couldn't put my finger on it, but there was something different about him. What was it? Then Bill White, one of the Yankee announcers clued me in when he said, in an incredulous voice, that Dempsey had taken his catcher's mask off! Dempsey was so hell-bent on throwing Rickey out at third that he'd torn his mask off. I couldn't believe it!

If I remember correctly, Rickey stole third anyway. At the time I was shocked, but now, every time I think about it I can't help laughing. Like I said, I'll never forget it. That's my Rickey Henderson memory. What's yours?


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