This week we're looking back to one of Major League Baseball's all-time best hitters, Rickey Henderson. The Oakland Athletics star would secure an unprecedented feat 35 years ago, and he was just getting started.
Drafted in the fourth round of the 1976 MLB June Amateur Draft, Henderson would make his MLB debut in the 1979 season. He appeared in 89 games and showed off his hitting skills by swiping 33 bases and maintaining a .274 batting average. The next year would be Henderson's breakout campaign.
Finishing in the Top 10 for Most Valuable Player and earning his first AL All-Star award, Henderson would collect 100 stolen bases and secure an impressive .303 BA. Henderson would continue to blossom into one of the league's best in 1981 as he finished second in MVP voting, earned a Golden Glove & a Silver Slugger award but somehow missed out on an All-Star nod. Henderson made the most of the next seven seasons as he earned All-Star awards in every season from 1982 to 1988.
After setting the MLB record for most steals in a single season in 1982, Henderson would add 108 SBs in 1983 to put up back-to-back season of over 100 steals. Henderson remains the only AL player to steal 100 bases, a feat he achieved three separate times. The Athletics star would finally earn a MVP award in 1990 as he hit 28 home runs, 65 SBs and maintained a .325 BA. 1991 would be Henderson's final All-Star season but the MLB legend continued his career all the way up until 2003, his age 44 season.
Just a glance at Henderson's hitting stats show just how much the MLB game has changed. Henderson's lowest SB total in a season that he played at least 100 games was 25, a number that the majority of MLB players struggle to hit in today's game. Henderson was also 41 in 2001 when he only swiped 25 bases. It's hard to imagine any MLB player coming close to Henderson's stolen bases records, especially when you consider Jose Reyes is the closest current player and he currently sits at No. 33 on the all-time steals list.
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