Henderson reaches 2,000-run milestone
In his 25-year career, Rickey Henderson rewrote history – setting new records while breaking those held by some of the game’s most celebrated heroes.
On Aug. 31, 1998, Henderson joined an elite club by scoring his 2,000th career run, joining Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Pete Rose and Willie Mays the only other Major League Baseball players in history to do so at that time.
As Henderson touched home plate for the Athletics that day, he secured his place in baseball history.
“It’s a milestone that I wanted to reach as a leadoff hitter,” Henderson said. “It’s a great honor, something you could be proud of when your career’s over.”
Before Henderson’s career ended five years later, he was able to eclipse Ty Cobb, the all-time leader in runs scored. On Oct. 4, 2001, the 42-year-old San Diego Padres left fielder hit a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Henderson slid into home plate and the top spot as baseball’s career runs leader with 2,246.
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In 2003, Henderson would end his Major League Baseball career with 2,295 runs scored, a record which he holds to this day.
“The first day I stepped into the league, I said the best thing a leadoff hitter can do is score runs,” Henderson said. “That’s what I’ve been doing.”
In addition to the record for runs scored, Henderson is the all-time leader in unintentional walks (2,129), leadoff home runs (81), career stolen bases (1,406) and single-season stolen bases (130).
Henderson was nicknamed the “Man of Steal” for his speed on the base paths. He led the American League in stolen bases 12 times during his career. In 1998, Henderson became the oldest player in history to lead the league in stolen bases with 66 at age 39.
In addition to his speed, Henderson also had a keen eye at the plate. On April 25, 2001, he broke Babe Ruth’s record for career walks. Henderson ended his career with 2,190 walks. The only player in history with more walks is Barry Bonds (2,558), but Henderson holds the all-time mark with 2,129 unintentional walks.
Henderson spent his 25-year career with nine different ball clubs. He was a 10-time All-Star, American League Most Valuable Player in 1990, and World Series champion with Athletics in 1989 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993.
Henderson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009 on his first ballot with 94.8 percent of the Baseball Writers' Association of America vote.
“I love the game of baseball,” Henderson said in his induction speech on July 26, 2009. “That's why it was so hard for me to walk away from the game.”
Nicole Pappas was a public relations intern in the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program