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Rickey: No Head-First Dive Into Retirement

Rumor has it that Rickey Henderson has decided to call it a career, much like accountants choose to retire sometime after they are locked out of their firm's office and required to turn in their calculator, and then discover that their computer password is no longer valid and a nerd named Elmer has been issued their parking space. Rickey is a somewhat poignant example of the saying, "How can we miss you if you won't go away?" but he is also the producer, director, and engineer of some of the very fondest memories for so many A's fans in that coveted 25-44 demographic--and beyond.

In my opinion--which, along with $2.50 will get you a super grande latte at Starbucks because that is the name of their smallest size--Rickey's last game should have been played as a member of the Oakland A's. Granted, the window of opportunity in 2005 was small, as the A's only played one "meaningless" home game and it was not rendered mathematically meaningless until the night before. And granted, baseball is a business. And granted, Rickey may have been anything from "yesterday's news" to an "alum not grata" in the eyes of the current management.

But baseball is also entertainment and a "Rickey Henderson Day," in which baseball's greatest leadoff man even got one symbolic at bat, or a pinch-running assignment to make one final stolen base attempt, would have been both entertaining and could have been a great marketing tool. Perhaps the revenue from last minute walk-up sales would have paid for Frank Thomas' last 50 plate appearances this season. It was the ultimate win-win scenario.

Yet somehow it never happened. I hope it wasn't because personalities or egos got in the way of taking the chance to honor, respect, and appreciate a member of the A's family, and to entertain those who support the A's family. I hope the next legend is honored and respected even 10 years after his OPS falls below league average.

Speaking not from my head but from my heart, Rickey Henderson should have had the chance to go out as an Oakland Athletic. Why? Because he wanted to so much--and when someone has been so important to a franchise, that should count not for something but for everything. The A's should have moved mountains to honor the one repeated wish from the man who sustained A's baseball throughout the `80s when often little else could. It really wasn't a lot to ask.

"...getting a good sized lead, he's running! A pitchout...the throw to second, he is safe at second, he's stolen 119! Rickey Henderson steals on a pitchout!" -Lon Simmons, August 27th, 1982.


Should the A's have had "Rickey Henderson Day" in 2005?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Yes, even if they had to put it together at the last minute
    (73 votes)
  • 13%
    Yes, but it's no big deal that they didn't
    (14 votes)
  • 0%
    Only if the current A's management felt good about Rickey
    (1 vote)
  • 7%
    No, the A's had a pennant race to focus on
    (8 votes)
  • 2%
    No, Rickey should not be honored with a "day"
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    (7 votes)
106 votes total Vote Now