Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Look, I don't think Rickey Henderson is the greatest baseball player of all time. He's not even the best I ever saw (Willie Mays still holds that title).

But how can you explain leaving Rickey off your Hall of Fame ballot? I know one guy in Arizona says he goofed--just forgot to check Henderson's name before he sent in his ballot. OK, I'll take his word for that; mistakes happen.

But what about the other 27 voters who didn't put Henderson on their ballots? An oft-heard (and very lame) excuse is that they don't want to vote for someone in his first year of eligibility.

Excuse me? Either the guy belongs in the Hall, or he doesn't. How would one of these fools feel if some deserving Hall of Famer was hit by a bus and didn't live the extra year or two so they could get around to voting for him?

Look, Rickey Henderson had his faults. I always thought he should have been a better defensive player (he did win one Gold Glove, but that was at age 22), given his speed and instincts. And certainly, there are those who thought of Rickey as a selfish guy who worried more about Rickey than anything else.

But please. Rickey Henderson was, for most of his 25-year career, a major destabilizing force. He changed every game in which he played.

Best ever? Maybe not.

Automatic Hall of Famer? Absolutely.

No comments: