LADY AT THE BAT: Happy Black History Month: A Rickey Henderson Memory

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Black History Month: A Rickey Henderson Memory

During his long career, Hall Of Famer Rickey Henderson played for a whole slew of teams. One of the teams he played for, of course, was the New York Yankees (1985-1989).  While wearing the pinstripes he gave Yankee fans lots of thrills, with his snatch catch, his leadoff at-bats and, of course, his stolen bases.

I truly enjoyed watching Rickey Henderson on the basepaths. I have lots of memories of those times, but I don't think I'll forget one particular memory of him on base:

The Yankees were playing the Baltimore Orioles at the Stadium. It was the start of the game. Henderson led off and got on base. The Orioles catcher was Rick Dempsey. You could tell Dempsey was really determined to keep Rickey at first base, or even throw him out at second.

Dempsey was a wild man behind the plate. He threw down to first and second several times. He came out of crouch and faked throws several times trying to decoy Henderson. None of it worked. Henderson was at second base before Dempsey knew it.

Now Dempsey was highly agitated. As Henderson took his lead off second, the TV camera showed an irate Rick Dempsey crouching behind homeplate. But, there was something different about him. At first I couldn't tell what it was. Then play-by-play announcer Bill White cleared things up for me. Chuckling, White announced that Dempsey had taken his mask off! Rick Dempsey was so preoccupied with Rickey Henderson that he risked his own safety to try and throw him out! I was hysterical.

Of course, it didn't work. Rickey stole third and, I believe, eventually scored.

Rickey Henderson ended his career with 1,406 stolen bases, the most in Major League history. He was elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 2009. Read more:

Rickey Henderson On Wikipedia

Rickey Henderson On Baseball Reference

Happy Black History Month!

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