By Devon POV Mason| Contributor
On this day (May 29th) in 1990 Rickey Henderson stole the 893rd base of his career breaking Ty Cobb’s American League record.
The Stolen Base King would go onto eventually obliterate Lou Brock’s MLB record of 938 and finishing his illustrious career with 1406 swipes.
Henderson set the single-season and career records for stolen bases over his 25-year Hall of Fame career and he did it with an unrivaled flair and effectiveness that made him one of the iconic superstars of the game.
“Yes I’m a hot dog. Yes I’m a showman. But remember this is baseball. This is entertainment. I’m an entertainer. Baseball was made to be fun.”
The greatest leadoff hitter the game has ever known was born on Christmas Day in 1958, in Chicago, Illinois.
He was selected by the Oakland As in the 1976 MLB Draft.
The dynamic leadoff hitter set a record with 130 stolen bases in the 1982 season, one of 12 times he led the league, and he was named American League MVP in 1990.
Henderson retired as baseball’s all-time leader in steals, runs, and walks. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Henderson known for his speed and quickness developed that chasing chickens on his grandmothers farm in Pine Bluff, Arkansas at a young age.
His family moved to Oakland CA, where the future baseball great began spending his days at renowned Bushrod Park, proving his athletic capabilities across an array of sports.
With his great speed, Henderson became an All-American running back at Oakland Technical High School. He also excelled in baseball, producing a .716 batting average as a junior.
Henderson was selected by the hometown Oakland A’s in the fourth round of the 1976 amateur baseball draft, but he also received dozens of college football scholarship offers.
After deferring the decision-making to his mom, who worried her son was too small for football, he signed with A’s and made an immediate impact in the minor leagues.
Halfway through the 1979 season he received his call-up to the club’s outfield. He batted .274 with 33 stolen bases over the remainder of the 1979 campaign with Oakland, and by the following season it was clear he was a special player.
He stole 100 bases to set a new American League record, and by using an exaggerated crouch in the batter’s box, he compiled 117 walks for an outstanding .420 on-base percentage.
He also used his speed to run down every ball in his vicinity in left field, earning a Gold Glove Award for his defense in 1981.
In 1982, Henderson blew past Hall of Famer Lou Brock’s big league record of 118 stolen bases in a season, en route to an seemingly untouchable mark of 130. Although he was earning a reputation for showmanship,
Henderson was also a smart player who recognized the need for greater efficiency in his overall game. The following year he added another 108 thefts while slicing his caught-stealing total by more than one-half.
Traded to the New York Yankees after the 1984 season, Henderson dazzled the Big Apple fans in 1985 by batting .314 with 24 home runs, 80 stolen bases and an incredible 146 runs scored.
He was limited to just 95 games by a hamstring injury in 1987, and as such had his streak of seven consecutive stolen-base crowns snapped.
But he did return to set a team record with 93 steals in 1988.
Following a lackluster first half of the 1989 season, Henderson was reignited by a trade that returned him to Oakland, where he helped bring the A’s to the World Series, which they won in a four-game sweep over the San Francisco Giants.
The following season Henderson earned AL MVP honors, again helping bring the A’s to the World Series.
On May 1, 1991 Henderson achieved the inevitable when he surpassed Brock’s all-time record with career stolen base No. 939. True to form, at the end of a speech to commemorate the moment, he announced,
“Today I am the greatest!”
Henderson went on to play for the Blue Jays, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Padres for a second time.
Unsigned by the start of 2003 season, he kept playing at any level he could and joined the Newark Bears of the Independent Atlantic League, before finishing the season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He finished his career as baseball’s all-time leader in stolen bases (1,406), runs scored (2,295), and walks (2,190) and was the 25th player to reach 3,000 hits.
In his post-baseball playing career, Henderson still stayed linked to the game by joining the Mets organization as a special instructor in 2006 and became the team’s first base coach in 2007.
In 2009, Henderson was elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He was named on 95 percent of the ballots, on of the highest percentages of all-time.
In recent years, the baseball great served as a roving instructor in the A’s organization, imparting his hitting and baserunning advice to minor league players.