Rickey Henderson Left Ty Cobb In The Dust 31 Years Ago

Rickey Henderson Left Ty Cobb In The Dust 31 Years Ago

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.

Rickey Henderson Left Ty Cobb In The Dust 31 Years Ago

Frank Thomas Was The King Of Chicago Baseball

By Devon POV Mason |  Contributor 

 

 

Frank Thomas was a great player and for his efforts, he’s enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“The Big Hurt” was inducted in his first year of eligibility, as BBWAA voters agreed that Thomas deserved his position in Cooperstown. The two-time American League MVP, (he finished second in 2000 to Jason Giambi, an admitted steroid user), Thomas is also one of only 21 players to achieve baseball’s “Holy Trinity.”

The “Holy Trinity” consists of a .300 average, .400 on-base percentage, and a .500 slugging percentage.

Frank Thomas was simply the most dominant “PURE” hitter of the 1990s. In his first season, 1991, Thomas became the first player since Ted Williams to hit .300 with (32) home runs, (109) RBIs, and (138) walks.

 

 

I heard a White Sox season ticket holder once say they planned their concession stand and restroom runs around innings he wasn’t due to come to the plate. He had that effect on the game and its fans.

Frank Thomas should’ve owned “The Windy City” after appearing in a series of Reebok commercials.

 

 

But somehow he was never embraced as such.

A huge reason why Thomas’ lofty accomplishments were undervalued had to do with his crosstown rivals Cubs and one Slammin’ Sammy Sosa. Both were stars but Chicago fans loved the charismatic Sosa, a happy showman, who hopped and diddy-bopped around the bases after hitting home runs.

Thomas seemed distant at times. Some even misinterpreted his calm demeanor and all-business approach as surly. And rumor had it, he was unapproachable by teammates.

Not that he could control it, but Thomas played in the PED era. Born big, he played football at Auburn after Bo Jackson, before switching to baseball full time. He put up monster stats while surrounded by drug cheats such as the aforementioned Sosa, Mark McGuire and Jose Canseco.

Thomas is considered a “clean” superstar, but the stain of the entire steroid saga has lead to a situation where players from that era are viewed through a different prism. Even if they were clean. Thomas, however, would be a Cooperstown candidate in any era.

 

 

Labor strife also affected Thomas’ best years. Thomas and the White Sox were in first place in 1994 when a strike ended the season. Thomas did earn a World Series ring in 2005 with the White Sox, even though he was injured and did not play.

Hypothetical question here: If the White Sox had won the 1994 World Series would history view him differently?

A lot of Thomas’ career was spent as a DH. While baseball fans and so-called purists have strong opinions about the designated hitter, there’s no question Thomas benefited from the ability to rest his injured ankles for most of his career.

Despite spending over a decade at first base, many view Thomas as the first designated hitter to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Thomas left Chicago a bitter man after GM Kenny Williams signed Jim Thome in 2006.

He hit his 500th career home run playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, and finished his career in Oakland, all of which just seemed WRONG!

 

 

He did return home to Chicago. Things were mended about as good as you can expect in “ChiTown,” but it still has to leave a sour taste in his mouth to have done everything right and still not get the love he so deserves.

Greatest White Sox Player Ever.

Frank Thomas.

Rickey Henderson Left Ty Cobb In The Dust 31 Years Ago

Marvin Freeman Discusses His Incredible Journey From Jackson State To MLB

MLBbro’s Mark Gray interviewed former MLB pitcher Marvin Freeman, who discussed his odds-defying journey from Jackson State to a 10-year career in the Major Leagues.

There aren’t many Marvin Freeman’s in the league anymore, but he has a wealth of pitching knowledge and works closely with MLB’s diversity programs, inspiring and instructing young athletes trying to achieve their baseball dreams.

 

 

WATCH Part 1: Marvin Freeman Talks Black Pitchers, Black Baseball, Black Love (Of The Game)

Rickey Henderson Left Ty Cobb In The Dust 31 Years Ago

Marvin Freeman Talks Black Pitchers, Black Baseball, Black Love (Of The Game)

MLBbro’s Mark Gray interviewed former MLB pitcher Marvin Freeman.

The 6-foot-6 pitcher spent over a decade in The Show — from 1986 to 1996 — pitching for four different teams. There aren’t many Marvin Freeman’s in the league anymore, but he has a wealth of pitching knowledge and works closely with MLB’s diversity programs, inspiring and instructing young athletes trying to achieve their baseball dreams. He is the perfect person to discuss the state of Black pitchers in MLB and the culture of baseball.