John Olerud revealed the truth behind the amazing 'Rickey Henderson story'
It is one of baseball's great legends, along with Babe Ruth's called shot, Mighty Casey's big whiff and Abner Doubleday's "invention" -- but on Sunday night, John Olerud arrived at the BBWAA awards dinner to tell the full truth behind "The Rickey Henderson story."
For those unaware, the story goes like this: When Henderson signed with Olerud's Mariners in 2000, he came up to Olerud and asked about the helmet the first baseman always wore in the field. After learning the reason -- Olerud suffered an aneurysm in college, and wore the helmet to protect his head -- Henderson said, "Man, I played with someone like that in New York."
And Olerud's response: "Yeah, Rickey, that was me."
Long thought to be apocryphal, the story was explained by Olerud.
"The truth behind the story," Olerud said, "was that Scott Lawrenson, the assistant trainer -- great, dry sense of humor -- was great at coming up with stories. He would see a picture in the paper that looked like one of the players, and he'd cut it out, put it on the bulletin board in the training room and make up a story. ... So, when he found out Rickey got signed by the Mariners, he told the clubhouse guys, 'Hey, did you hear what Rickey told Olie?' And then they went and told the guys in the clubhouse, 'Hey, did you hear what Rickey told Olie?'"
Unfortunately for Olerud, because the legend is more fun than the truth, the legend will likely live on.