10 incredible Rickey Henderson stats

February 11th, 2021

Nobody could single-handedly (single-footedly?) change the course of a baseball game like Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. Widely considered the greatest leadoff man in MLB history, his first name became synonymous with the stolen base. So let's have a look at 10 incredible Rickey stats that demonstrate just how utterly dominant a force he was during a career that spanned a quarter of a century. And since Henderson so often famously referred to himself in the third person, we'll pay homage to Rickey's unique way of discussing Rickey.

Nobody stole more bases than Rickey
Let's address the obvious first: Henderson stole an MLB-record 1,406 bases. Second place on the list? The man whose record he broke at the Oakland Coliseum on May 1, 1991 -- Lou Brock, who stole 938. In other words, nobody's within 468 bases of Rickey. The active leader in steals heading into the 2021 season is Dee Strange-Gordon, who is more than 1,000 steals behind Rickey, at 333.

Rickey dominated the '80s
Henderson led the American League in steals in every year of the 1980s except for an injury-shortened 1987 campaign. He led MLB in steals in five of those seasons. From 1980-89, Henderson not only set the single-season steals record (130 in '82), he swiped 838 bags overall. Second place in the decade? Fellow Hall of Famer Tim Raines, who was nearly 300 behind, at 583. The only other man who could lay claim to a stolen base title in the '80s is Harold Reynolds, who swiped 60 for the Mariners in '87.

Henderson actually called Reynolds after he wrapped up the steals crown that year. According to Reynolds' account, Henderson said: "60 stolen bases? You ought to be ashamed; Rickey would have 60 at the All-Star break."

Three? Four? Rickey says, 'How about more?'
Henderson stole three or more bases in a game 71 times in his career, including four steals 19 times, and five steals once, on July 29, 1989, when he scored four runs without registering a hit (four walks in four plate appearances) against the Mariners in Oakland.

Rickey opened in style
Nobody has hit more home runs to lead off a game than Henderson, who opened a contest with a homer 81 times. And nobody has celebrated a leadoff home run with more style than Rickey. Whether it was the collar tug, the helmet tap, or the wide -- really wide, like nearly going into the first-base dugout wide -- turn around first base, Rickey's admiration for his homers was unparalleled in its own way.

Rickey runs wild against the Jays
The 1989 AL Championship Series was a nightmare for the Blue Jays. And it was courtesy of one man -- Rickey. He was a one-man wrecking crew, stealing eight bases and scoring eight runs while hitting .400 with a double, triple and two homers during the five-game Athletics victory to clinch the pennant. Four of his steals came in Game 2 alone. Henderson was named series MVP before winning the regular-season MVP Award for the AL the next year.

Nobody scored more runs than Rickey
Henderson scored 2,295 runs over his 25-season career. Ty Cobb is second all-time, with 2,245. Scoring runs is the name of the game. And nobody did that better than Rickey.

Rickey first since Williams to score 140+ runs in a season
The great Ted Williams scored 150 runs in 1949. For 36 years after that, no one scored more than 140 runs in a single season. Henderson changed that by scoring 146 runs in '85. In the 36 seasons since then, eight players have achieved the feat.

Nobody was (unintentionally) walked more than Rickey
Barry Bonds owns the all-time walks record, with 2,558. But that includes a record 688 intentional walks. As for unintentional walks, Henderson owns the record with 2,129, which is 259 ahead of Bonds.

Age was just a number to Rickey
Henderson stole an MLB-leading 66 bases with the A's in 1998, his age-39 season (he also walked an AL-leading 118 times). That remains a record for most steals in a season by a player in his age-39 campaign or later. Second is Davey Lopes, who stole 47 bases for the Cubs in 1985, which was his age-40 season.

Rickey stole more than 100 bases after age 40
Henderson stole 109 bases after turning 40, an all-time record. Cap Anson is second, with 90. Rickey's 109 steals after age 40 would rank 40th on the active players career list -- only 39 players in the game today have more career steals than Henderson's total from ages 40-44.