The Oakland A’s just dedicated their field to Rickey Henderson, the mythical outfielder who broke records in stolen bases and lead-off home runs. And though the Hall of Famer has calmed down a bit since his prime, he’s still the man known for singing his own praises and referring to himself in the third-person.
Rickey Henderson is now part man, part legend. He’s said or done so many absurd and ridiculous things that fans and historians can’t tell what actually happened and what’s just a rumor, or well, now legend. Isn’t this how tall tales start? Whatever. We’re here to stoke that fire. Keep reading for our ten favorite times Rickey referred to himself in the third-person.
Because when you’re born in the backseat of a car in Chicago on Christmas day, you’re pretty much destined for greatness wouldn’t you say? (That one’s true, by the way.)
1 – The Classic Rickey
This is perhaps the quote he’s most known for (aside from that time he said “I’m the greatest of all time” of course.) Later on in his career, Rickey supposedly called the Padres GM and left the following voicemail: “Kevin, this is Rickey, calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.”
So amazing. As if he’d be calling on behalf of anybody else. We’d love to be a recipient of a phone call like that, but unfortunately modern-day Rickey says this one might not be true. Please, please don’t ruin it for us.
2 – Motivational Self-Talk
While playing for the Seattle Mariners, Rickey struck out and the next batter in the lineup heard him saying to himself as he returned to the dugout, “Don’t worry, Rickey, you’re still the best.”
Hey maybe we’d all feel a little better about ourselves if we followed Rickey’s lead. So what did Rickey himself have to say on the subject of talking to himself? After enough people gave him hell about his habit, this was his logical response: “Do I talk to myself? No, I just remind myself of what I’m trying to do. You know, I never answer myself so how can I be talking to myself?”
3 – Tenure
In 1996, Rickey was a new addition to the Padres roster. As he boarded the team bus and looked for a seat, Steve Finley told him, “You have tenure, sit wherever you want.” Rickey looked at Finley and replied, “Ten years? Rickey’s been playing at least 16, 17 years.”
Ten Years > Ten Yurs > Tenure. We see where he’s coming from.
4 – Rickey = 1% of All Baseball
Back in the day, a popular source estimated that 50% of Major League Baseball players were using steroids. A reporter asked Rickey if he thought this was an accurate stat. His response? “Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there.”
A tip of the hat to your ego and math skills, sir.
5 – Locker Room Routines
Rumor has it that before every game he ever played, Rickey stood completely naked in front of a full length mirror in the locker room and said, “Ricky’s the best! Rickey’s the best!” over and over for several minutes.
6 – His Strike Zone
When they played together in Seattle, Alex Rodriguez would ask after Rickey struck out, “Rickey, was that a strike?” Rickey looked up and answered, “Maybe, but not to Rickey.”
Rickey got on base better than any player… ever. Former pitcher Tom Candiotti said, “I hated Rickey. Really, I couldn’t stand him. He never swung at my knuckleball, he never swung at my curveball. He never swung until he got two strikes. He had a strike zone the size of a coffee can. If you threw him a fastball, he would hit it for a home run. If you walked him, it was a triple. It was ridiculous.”
7 – On Steroids…
“They kept that s$!# a secret from me. I wish they had told me. My God, could you imagine Rickey on ‘roids? Oh, baby, look out!”
Ya know, unlike every other baseball player on the planet, for some reason we believe that Rickey wasn’t on steroids. Pitchers had already quit trying to throw him out as he stole second and third. He had no need for the ‘roids.
8 – Rickey Goes Big Time
“Rickey got a big ranch. Rickey got a big bull. Rickey got horses. Rickey got chickens and everything. And Rickey got a 20-gallon hat.”
When Rickey brags, he uses the third-person. He’s also into livestock and living that country lifestyle. We apologize for the lack of photos of Rickey in a cowboy hat.
9 – He Has A Limo Too
“Rickey don’t like it when Rickey can’t find Rickey’s limo.”
Yeah, I hear ya. Same. #firstworldproblems
10 – Part Third-Person, Part Awesome
Rickey was traded to the Yankees in 1985, and when a reporter asked him what it would feel like to play on the same field as Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, he responded, “I don’t care about them… It’s Rickey time!”
The definition of irreverence. And we love it.
Here’s Rickey’s Explanation of it All: He’s in on the joke:
“Listen, people are always saying, ‘Rickey says Rickey.’ But it’s been blown way out of proportion. People might catch me, when they know I’m ticked off, saying, ‘Rickey, what the heck are you doing, Rickey?’ They say, ‘Darn, Rickey, what are you saying Rickey for? Why don’t you just say, ‘I?’ But I never did. I always said, ‘Rickey,’ and it became something for people to joke about.”
Nah Rickey, keep it up. We don’t think it’s a joke! And neither do your fans (and the statisticians) who claim that you’re one of the best baseball players of all time.
Bonus Fun Rickey Story:
The Oakland A’s accountants once panicked because their books were off by $1,000,000 at the end of the year. After a bit of scrutiny, they called up Rickey to ask where his million dollar bonus check was.
He told them that the check was right there on his wall in a frame.
That’s right. Rickey once framed a check for a million dollars instead of cashing it. Just incredible.