Aug 13, 2007

Strange Laundry: Rickey Henderson (1997)

Rickey Henderson
1998 Score - Card #18
The greatest leadoff hitter of all time played for ten different MLB clubs in a career that spanned four decades.  One of his shortest tenures with a team took place in the second half of 1997.  One day after he hit the 250th home run of his career, the San Diego Padres traded Rickey Henderson to the Anaheim Angels.

Los Angeles Times  (August 14, 1997)

In the days leading up to this trade, it was rumored that five contenders in the American League teams were negotiating with the Padres to acquire Rickey Henderson, and it's easy to understand why.  Henderson had been traded in the middle of the season twice before in his career.  With key contributions from their new leadoff man, both teams went on to win the World Series that year: the 1989 Oakland Athletics and the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays.

Henderson was 38 years old when he was dealt to the Angels, but he was having a productive season with the Padres, batting .274 with a .422 OBP and 29 stolen bases at the time of the trade.  However, lightning would not strike a third time for teams that acquired Rickey Henderson midway through a season.  The Angels were tied with the Seattle Mariners for first place in the AL West at the time of the trade, but they went 18-26 for the rest of the year and finished six games behind the division champion Mariners.