07/09/09 2:22 PM ET
A's to retire Rickey's number on Aug. 1
Club to honor Hall of Famer with special ceremonies
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
Now, the Athletics are making sure Rickey Henderson's memory never dies in Oakland.
The team announced Thursday that it will pay tribute to Henderson -- the hometown hero and all-time leader in runs scored and stolen bases -- when it retires his No. 24 jersey during pregame ceremonies on Saturday, Aug. 1.
At the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum will be several of Henderson's former teammates and coaches, including Dave Stewart, Dave Henderson, Mike Davis, Mike Moore, Bob Welch, Jesse Barfield, Rene Lachemann, Mike Norris, Bip Roberts, Shooty Babitt and Stan Javier.
The Aug. 1-2 weekend will be devoted to Henderson, as the A's will give away replica jerseys and banners. Game time on Aug. 1 will be moved from 6:05 p.m. PT to 6:20 p.m.
"This is a dream come true," Henderson said in a news release. "When I was a kid growing up in Oakland, I could never have imagined this happening. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Oakland Athletics organization for retiring my No. 24. I would like to thank Jackie Robinson for opening the gates and allowing me to be [able] to play the game of baseball. I would like to thank my family, friends and fans for their loyal support over all these years. This honor is for them as well."
A 10-time All-Star and 12-time American League stolen-base leader through 25 seasons in the big leagues, Henderson will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 26. He will become the fifth player in A's history to have his number retired, joining Jim "Catfish" Hunter (No. 27), Rollie Fingers (34), Dennis Eckersley (43) and Reggie Jackson (9) -- all of whom are Hall of Famers.
Henderson moved from Chicago to Oakland at an early age and graduated high school there. Along with suiting up for the Yankees, Blue Jays, Padres, Angels, Mets, Mariners, Red Sox and Dodgers during his long career, Henderson played 14 seasons with the A's. During that time, he hit for a .288 average with 167 home runs and 648 RBIs while scoring 1,270 runs and stealing 867 bases.
With the A's in 1982, Henderson shattered the single-season stolen-base record by swiping 130 bags. Then, in '89, he returned to Oakland in a midseason trade and helped the club win its last World Series championship. Finally, in '91 -- a year after his first and only Most Valuable Player Award -- he broke Lou Brock's career stolen-base record of 938.
Henderson, now 50, totaled 3,055 hits, 297 home runs, 1,115 RBIs, 2,295 runs scored and 1,406 stolen bases to go along with a .401 on-base percentage over his illustrious career.
"Rickey Henderson was the most exciting player in our franchise history and, without question, the greatest leadoff hitter this game has ever known," said A's owner and managing partner Lew Wolff in the release. "To honor him in this way is only appropriate. He re-wrote the record books and provided so many thrills for our fans over the years."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.