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What Is RICKEY HENDERSON Doing in NEWARK?
Tom Verducci
June 23, 2003
The greatest leadoff hitter of all time is beating the bushes, trying to get back to the majors—and still leaving 'em laughing at every stop
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June 23, 2003

What Is Rickey Henderson Doing In Newark?

The greatest leadoff hitter of all time is beating the bushes, trying to get back to the majors—and still leaving 'em laughing at every stop

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Rickey was pulled over by a police officer after a night game in San Diego for speeding with his lights off. As the officer approached the car, Rickey, without saying a word, lowered his window only about an inch, just far enough to stick out two fingers holding a $100 bill. (The officer let him and his money go.)

Or the time....

Rickey was asked if he owned the Garth Brooks album that has the song Friends in Low Places. "Rickey doesn't have albums," he answered. "Rickey has CDs."

Or the time someone asked him what he thought about speculation that as many as 50% of big leaguers used steroids. "Well, I'm not," he said. "So that's 49 [percent] right there."

Or the time he developed frostbite in August. The Blue Jays used a newfangled ice treatment on his ankle. "What is Rickey, a guinea pig?" he asked.

Or the time he bragged that his Manhattan apartment had such a great view he could see "the Entire State Building."

Or the time he settled a feud with Yankees manager Lou Piniella, saying, "Let bye-byes be bye-byes."

Until that Day he waits and wonders. He thinks about winter ball after this and maybe Japan if the majors still haven't called. He is one of the treasures of the game, and he is left behind in its basement—Sinatra playing the Catskills, Olivier doing summer stock, Toscanini at the Elks band shell.

"If they say your skill's gone and you can't do nothing, then I can see it's time, but I ain't had a club yet that says that," Henderson says. "And that's the shame. As long as I've been playing the game, what I accomplished...for me to be in this situation, really, it's a shame to major league baseball.

"But that's life. And I digest it. Because I believe the Good Lord has put me here for something. And He never tells me that road I'm going to put you on is always going to be gravy."

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