Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh Rickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blew my mind

1 Happy St would like to congratulate Rickey Henderson on his induction to the HOF. With a little help from Ryne Sandberg, Brian has written Rickey's speech:

RICKEY: What a beautiful day this is. Rickey stands here today before you humbled and a grateful baseball player. Rickey is truly honored and in awe, honored to be in the class with his fellow inductee Jim Rice. And as Rickey looks behind him here, wow, at the greatest players in the history of the game, Rickey is in awe. Rickey knows that if he had ever allowed himself to think this was possible, if Rickey had ever taken one day in pro ball for granted, he's sure he would not be here today. This will come as a shock, but Rickey is almost speechless.

The reason Rickey is here, they tell him, is that he played the game a certain way, that he played the game the way it was supposed to be played. Rickey doesn't know about that, but Rickey does know this: he had too much respect for the game to play it any other way, and if there was a single reason he is here today, it is because of one word, respect. Rickey loves to play baseball. He's a baseball player. He's always been a baseball player. He's still a baseball player. That's who he is.

CROWD: We love you, Rickey!

RICKEY: He loves you too. He was a baseball player when he was ten or twelve years old pretending to be Willie Stargell or Johnny Bench or Luis Tiant, when his bat was an old fungo, his ball was a plastic golf ball, when the field was the street. He was a baseball player at Oakland Technical High School. Even though he was an All-American running back and received two dozen scholarships to play football in college, he turned them down. Then he was signed by the Oakland A's in the 4th round of the 1976 draft. Rickey had too much respect for the game to leave it behind or to make it his second or third sport in college.

Everything he is today, everything he has today, everything he will ever be is because of the game of baseball, not the game you see on TV or in movies, baseball, the one we all know, in dirt fields and in alleys. We all know that game. The game fit Rickey because it was right.

It was all about doing things right. If you played the game the right way, played the game for the team, good things would happen. That's what Rickey loved most about the game, how a ground out to second with a man on second and nobody out was a great thing.


Thank you, and go Rickey!