This Date In Transactions History: Rickey Henderson

In 1999, Rickey Henderson hooked on with the Mets and turned in yet another strong campaign.  The 40-year-old hit .315/.423/.466 in 121 games and racked up 37 steals to go with it.  However, production isn't always everything and, shockingly, Henderson proved to be difficult to work with.  The veteran found himself as fodder for the tabloids when he allegedly left the Mets' dugout to play cards with Bobby Bonilla during the team's season-ending loss in the NLCS to the Braves.  The friction between Henderson and the front office would carry over in to the 2000 season when the leftfielder openly complained about his $1.9MM salary and demanded a raise during Spring Training which he never received.  On May 13th, 2000, Henderson's time in Queens would come to an end.

In an afternoon game against the Marlins at Shea, Henderson belted a shot that he felt was certain to clear the fence.  Henderson opted to watch the ball in flight only to see it fall short.  The outfielder wound up with what amounted to a 355-foot single and didn't feel the need to apologize for it.  "I didn't cause them to lose. Look someplace else," said Henderson following the 7-6 loss, according to the Associated Press.  It turns out that the future Hall of Famer would be the one who was someplace else as he went unclaimed on waivers before finally being released.  Agent Jeff Borris wasn't fazed by the news.

"I don't anticipate having a problem finding him a place to play," said Borris. "A lot of people think Rickey has a lot of baseball left in him. Rickey has had a spectacular career, and it would be a blemish if it ended this way. There are a couple of major milestones that he still wants to achieve."

Borris was right as the legendary illeist wasn't without employment for long.  Henderson quickly hooked on with the Mariners and finished out the year hitting .238/.362/.327.  While that was the end of Henderson's time playing for the Mets, he would once again don orange-and-blue as a special instructor and later on as the team's first base coach in 2007.


13 Responses to This Date In Transactions History: Rickey Henderson Leave a Reply

  1. with all due respect, Rickey did not have 63 steals in 2000, I think it was more like 33

  2. SFrush90 3 years ago

    Rickey doesn’t need to run out a flyball.

    – Rickey Henderson

    • If Rickey thinks the ball is gone, Rickey is gonna watch the ball Rickey hit to see how far Rickey can hit the ball.

    • HummBaby 3 years ago

      Rickey being Rickey. One of the true characters in MLB history. 

      • Infield Fly 3 years ago

        Sometimes calling someone “a character” is just another way of saying “they’re a piece of work.” Either way, you’re right! :)

        • chico65 3 years ago

          Seeing him on the basepaths was viewing a masterpiece

  3. johnsilver 3 years ago

    Ricky Henderson deserved Charlie O’Finley.. Same with Reggie Jackson.. funny how some of the most egocentric ballplayers of that era came from Charlie O’….

    When Charlie O’ lost Joe Rudi, Vida Blue, Jackson, Rollie Fingers, Bert Campaneris etc… The heart of his 72-74WS teams and that dynasty he built in ’77, he said the one that hurt him the most was Bert Campaneris. The “spark plug” that made his WS teams ‘tick” and in a LOT of ways, just like Ricky Henderson as he was blistering fast, slap hitter and a tremendously gifted defensive player.. but he played almost his entire career for a team (Oakland) that was rarely watched.

    The guy stole *649* bases.. No small feat. Had a big temper for someone 5’10, as he threw bats (sometimes at umpires) and wasn’t afraid of any scrap on the field…

    • Had Finley kept his  3-peat champs of the early ’70’s together, it may have meant one or two more titles. Adding Rickey in 1980 to Reggie, Tenace, Blue, and Rollie Fingers would have been something.

       For the record: Reggie hit 41 HR’s with 100 plus RBI and a .300 BA. He also scored 100 runs with 89 BB. Fingers was 11-9 2.80, Tenace drew over 100 walks, Blue  was 14-10 with a 2.97 ERA while Rickey batted .304 BA, 111 runs,117 walks,9 HR’s 72 RBI,179 hits and a .420 OBP Plus, all of his SB’s. A real shame that his veery best years were with the Yankees. Should have spent his entire career in Oakland. 

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

         You must not have been around when charlie O lost that initial crop of FA, or have forgotten then..

        His own words after Campy signed with Texas was:

        “Campy got ripped off, he was the spark plug and heart of all my teams”

        O’Finley’s words.. Not mine when Blue, Fingers, Jackson, Rudi, Campy etc.. all left at the same time, Campy just did all the little things to beat you.

  4. Why did the Mets even bring him back as a coach?

    • izzygone 3 years ago

      Met’s  brought Rickey in as coach to help teach Jose Reyes how to steal bases and  learn to take  a  base on balls once  a  year.
      Oh. And  Rickey’s  long  single  was  a  Friday night game. I was there. we were all pretty shocked to see Rickey only standing on first  base after  what  could have been a  double or  even a triple. The game  was  Friday night, and by Sunday that weekend, Rickey was off the team.

  5. Otis26 3 years ago

    “Illeist”?

    Seriously…remember who your audience is. lol.

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