Red Sox get the Man of Steal
In 2002, the Red Sox signed Rickey Henderson, who became the oldest player ever to play center field at the MLB level. This was not the Henderson dubbed “The Man of Steal.” Those days had long evaporated.
Henderson did not finish with gaudy numbers, but he swiped eight bags in ten attempts in his specialty. In 72 games, Henderson hit .223 with five home runs as the Red Sox finished second in the American League. For Ricky, it was not over, and he played 30 games for the Dodgers the following season before retiring at age-44.
Henderson’s career was remarkable for its longevity and record-shattering. The all-time leader in steals, runs, and caught stealing. The primary function of a leadoff hitter is to get on base, and Henderson had a career .401 OBP despite a career .279 batting average.
The first time I saw the right-hand hitting Henderson, I noted a rarity – he threw left-handed. Henderson finished his 25-year career as a ten-time All-Star and a former MVP (1990).
When sequencing into the next player, the choice became obvious to choose a player with similar talent but whose legacy is forever tarnished by his race-baiting, as depicted in the movie “42.”