Rickey Henderson is the greatest of all time. Rickey Henderson would tell you that, and then Rickey Henderson would go onto the baseball field and prove it. Rickey redefined the role of the leadoff hitter. Not only was Rickey able to get on base (either by drawing a walk or getting a hit), and not only was he able to steal bases (will get to this later), but Rickey could change the course of the game in the game's first at bat by sending a pitch into the stands. And before many fans can settle into their seats to enjoy the game, their hometown heroes are already behind 1-0.
The lifetime numbers Rickey compiled in his long, four-decade career, are staggering. In 3,081 games and 13,346 lifetime plate appearances, Rickey:
- Got on base 3055 times via a hit and 2190 times by drawing a walk.
- In 1,741 attempts, stole a record shattering 1,406 bases.
- He has scored 2,295 runs in his career, which is also a record.
- Hit 297 home runs, a record 81 of them leading off the game.
- He drove in 1,115 runs as well...not bad for a guy who bats in the LEADOFF position.
A player like Rickey Henderson deserved to be in the original 2001 Topps Archives set. But Rickey Henderson wasn't done with baseball yet. He did have a card in the 2001 Topps Future Archives set, so now that he is now in Cooperstown, why not add Rickey to the 2011 Topps Archives project.
A total of 511 BBWAA voters agreed that Rickey Henderson was worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame. And he definitely is deserving of the honor. Congratulations to Rickey Henderson, 2009 Hall of Famer.