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.