I had been meaning to write this down, given the induction ceremonies and the number being retired and all, but I didn't get a chance until now. So very briefly here is my 100% true Rickey Henderson story... it has 100% nothing to do with baseball but people were saying I should tell it anyway and AN seems like where it would be most appreciated.
It was February of 2000 and I had just moved to Oakland from SF in January... it was a Saturday night as I remember it and my friend and I were in Jack London Square, checking out the jazz pianist and composer Ahmad Jamal and his group at Yoshi's Nitespot... he had Idris Muhammad on drums (one of empy's all-time music gods) so we were not gonna miss it.
The 8:00 pm set ended and the staff cleared the house for the 10 pm set, announcing over the sound system that there were enough seats unsold for 10 pm so anyone who wanted to catch both performances was welcome to stay and do so. Me and my friend decided to stay and went for the side door to hit the alleyway at the end of the block for a little between-set "safety meeting." OK, we went out to blow a joint, c'mon this is Oakland folks.
As I was following my pal out, I held the side door for a super-buff, ridiculously outgoing African American gentleman who, upon reaching the door, grabbed my hand and shook it, thanking me perhaps more graciously than any other human being has ever shaken my hand for the simple courtesy of having held a door open for them, either before that night or since. I shook the guy's hand, somewhat puzzled but not really focused on it, thinking about the music and the forthcoming marijuana I guess LOL
Anyway the buff black guy went towards Broadway and I joined my friend outside the club, commenting to him what an effusively nice guy the dude I had just encountered was... mind you this is about 2 years before I became a super-wild A's fan or whatever, so my head was not really there as per baseball at that moment. My pal immediately asked me, "You don't know who that was, do you?" I replied that, well, yes, now that you say that he did seem sort of eerily familiar somehow, although I had no conscious idea whom I had just had this little (no more than 10 second) interaction with on the way out.
"That was Rickey Henderson, man."
"Fuck, you're right, it sure was."
At any rate it's kinda stupid but I thought it would provide a minute of entertainment here this afternoon so I wrote it down. I think he might have been so gracious and accommodating because at some level he must have recognized that here was someone who didn't seem to have any clue who he was, rare I'd imagine for someone as famous as he is, so he could just be a regular person for that moment and that appealed to him, who knows? Either way it was kind of cool, something that I'll always remember and it definitely made Saturday night and being there feel even more special for me, so here you are =)