There has never been a more prolific base-stealer than legendary Rickey, who swiped an MLB-record 1406 bases over his 25-year career and surpassed the 100-steals mark in three seasons. Rickey Henderson, also known as the “Man of Steal” is the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, a First ballot Hall of Famer, 10-time All-Star and former AL Most Valuable Player Award winner. Rickey has a 25-year résumé filled to the brim with accomplishments. He collected 3,055 hits and a major league record 1,406 stolen bases during 25 major league seasons.
Rickey regularly turned singles into doubles and, if held up at first, he wasn’t staying there for long. Rickey’s first few steps are explosive and can get to full speed, in only 3 steps. He was a master of sliding, when he dove head-first into a base, it was with no wasted motion of slowing down ahead of the target and he would drag his feet or use the base to slow down without over-running it. Rickey, perfected base stealing from reading the pitcher and catcher to getting an incredible jump to his efficient headfirst slides to the next base. Though he didn’t run track for very long, giving up the sport because it conflicted with the baseball schedule, Rickey once clocked in between 9.6 and 9.7 seconds in the 100-yard dash (roughly 31 ft/s). Rickey was an All-American running back in football as a high school athlete in Oakland, California and chose to play baseball over football. Rickey’s career in the major leagues began with the Oakland Athletics and in his first full season became one of only three players ever to have stolen 100 bases, breaking Ty Cobb’s American League record of 96 bases. It was the first of seven consecutive seasons in which Rickey led the American League in stolen bases and broke Lou Brock’s single-season record of 118 stolen bases, with 130 stolen bases. Rickey added 108 stolen bases the following year and helped the Athletics win the World Series and was selected American League Most Valuable Player. After setting the American League career stolen-base record with his 893rd steal, Rickey stole the 939th base of his career breaking the Major League record. On April 25, broke Babe Ruth’s lifetime record for bases and balls (walks). Rickey continued his record-breaking season setting the record for runs scored and two years after officially retiring was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.