The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

Rickey Henderson Looks Good On the Dance Floor

There’s been a great deal of early season hype about whether or not Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton, who stole over a hundred bases in two consecutive minor league seasons, could match that feat as a rookie this season.  Of course, Hamilton will have to be able to reach first base a reasonable number of times to be able to do so.

Thus far, he is 0 for 2014, having reached base via a base on balls once in 13 plate appearances, without a single safe hit to his credit.  He was also thrown out in his only stolen base attempt.

Still, it’s very early in the season, and Hamilton did bat over .300 in a late-season trial last year, and he hit well this past spring training as well.

Some say Hamilton has the raw speed to steal over 80 bases, if not this year, then certainly in some future season.  That prompted me to research which player(s) was the last to steal over 80 bags in a year.  The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman, back in 1988.  Actually, Henderson stole 93 that year for the Yankees.  Vince Coleman led the N.L. with 80 steals.  No other player has reached 80 steals since then.

For those of you who remember watching Henderson play baseball, especially when he was on the base-paths, you will remember that there have been few players like him who could create so much excitement in so many ways.  Rickey was never boring.

I have a Youtube clip of Rickey Henderson playing baseball, and another clip a bit below that of a song that I think goes well with Henderson’s style of play.

To match them up, first click on the bottom (Arctic Monkey’s) video (make sure the volume on your computer is turned up.)  Then go up and click on the Rickey Henderson video.  Be sure to click on the mute icon below the Henderson video to the left of the 2:21, or you’ll be listening to two overlapping videos.  Then click on the full screen icon on the far right,  and watch Rickey do his thing.  (The music lasts slightly longer than the Henderson video.)

Sorry about my lack of technical expertise, but I was born and raised in an analogue world.  I hope you enjoy this synthesis of modern music and classic, old video.






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8 thoughts on “Rickey Henderson Looks Good On the Dance Floor

  1. I LOVED his “steeze” when he hit a dinger. He also played for your Mets, Bill. I forgot about that. Another player who had crazy style was Dave Henderson. He almost had a pimp limp as he circled the bases. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Bill, you sure stick by the numbers even when Reyes a Met was damn close to 80 with 78 in 2007, but he got caught 21 times a lot like Henderson who got caught a fair amount of times. Makes Ellsbury last year with 52 steals and only 4 getting caught so much more productive or Trout in 2012 or Ichiro all those years. Maybe these stolen base totals are down because front offices no longer have their heads up their asses. But as far as this video montage goes, I’m gonna hit the crack pipe and then take a look. That first steal is a literal steal. He just pried that sack loose and wore it like a welter weight belt above his head. Gotta love Rickey. What a freaking lead off hitter; probably the best I ever seen.

    • I guess Rickey is the all-time leader in getting caught attempting to steal. They tend to frown on that a lot more these days. Still, he was one helluva player.
      Thanks for reading,

      • As productive as he was, I guess he could have been even more productive if he picked his steal spots better or the manager did or I assume he always had the green light. But either way, I can’t think of a payer off the top of my head who stood at the plate and swung the bat and follow through and all that with more aesthetically pleasing movements. Griffey was Ted Williams grace and all that and Eric Davis had a calm swagger, but Rickey looked half machine and half lion. Can’t get it out of my head. Makes this dancing post very true to me.

      • Half machine, half lion. I like that. He had all the confidence of Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon.

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