Rickey Henderson makes big league debut with A’s
On June 24, 1979, Major League Baseball’s future all-time leader in stolen bases nabbed second base in the first game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers.
It was the first steal of Rickey Henderson’s career. There would be a record-setting 1,405 more to come in his 25-year career. Henderson also recorded his first hit as a big leaguer in the contest – a leadoff double to right field for the Athletics off Rangers starter John Henry Johnson.
Henderson would later add a single to left in his next at-bat and promptly swipe second, something that became a trademark over his career. En route to becoming the all-time leader in steals, Henderson also set all-time marks in runs (2,295) and unintentional walks (2,139).
Digital Preservation Project
We need your help to preserve priceless treasures housed here in Cooperstown. Make a gift today to help ensure that fans around the world can have online access to the Museum collections and Library archive.
“For the period of time that I’ve been around, I think the most dangerous player is Rickey,” Henderson’s former manager in Oakland, Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, told writer Jack O’Connell in 2009. “In our time, Rickey worried you in more ways than anyone.”
The Rangers would eventually win Henderson’s debut game 36 years ago this week 5-1 behind a strong start from Johnson. The righty allowed six hits, two coming off the bat of Henderson. For A’s fans, Henderson’s debut marked a high point in an otherwise challenging campaign.