Inside Pitch

Aug. 31, 1998: Rickey Henderson scores the 2,000th run of his career


August 29, 2011

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Rickey Henderson is widely considered the greatest leadoff man in the history of baseball.

In his 25-year career, Henderson rewrote history – setting new records while breaking those held by some of the game's most celebrated heroes.

Rickey Henderson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009. (Sauritch/National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Thirteen years ago this week, Henderson scored is 2,000th career run, joining Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Pete Rose and Babe Ruth as the only other Major League Baseball players in history to do so. Barry Bonds later joined this list.

On Aug. 31, 1998, Henderson and the Oakland Athletics took on the Indians in Cleveland. While the Indians outscored the Athletics 15-6, Henderson reached a career milestone.

As Henderson touched home plate that day, he secured his place in baseball history – one of only six to score 2,000 runs. Barry Bonds has since joined the group, making Henderson one of seven in history.

"It's a milestone that I wanted to reach as a leadoff hitter," Henderson said. "It's a great honor, something you could be proud of when your career's over."

Before Henderson's career ended five years later, he was able to eclipse Ty Cobb, the all-time leader in runs scored. On Oct. 4, 2001, the 42-year old San Diego Padres left fielder hit a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Henderson slid into home plate and the top spot as baseball's career runs leader with 2,246.

In 2003, Henderson would end his Major League Baseball career with 2,295 runs scored, a record which he holds to this day.

"The first day I stepped into the league, I said the best thing a leadoff hitter can do is score runs," Henderson said. "That's what I've been doing."

In addition to the record for runs scored, Henderson is the all-time leader in unintentional walks (2,129), leadoff home runs (81), career stolen bases (1,406), and single-season stolen bases (130).

Henderson was nicknamed the "Man of Steal" for his speed on the base paths. He led the American League in steals 12 times during his career. In 1998 Henderson became the oldest player in history to lead the league in stolen bases with 66 at age 39.

In addition to his speed, Henderson also had a keen eye at the plate. On April 25, 2001 he broke Babe Ruth's record for career walks. Henderson ended his career with 2,190 walks. The only player in history with more walks is Barry Bonds (2,558), but Henderson holds the all-time mark with 2,129 unintentional walks.

Henderson spent his 25-year career with nine different ball clubs. He was a 10-time All-Star, American League Most Valuable Player in 1990, and World Series champion with Athletics in 1989 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993.

Henderson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009 on his first ballot with 94.8 percent of the Baseball Writers Association of America vote.

"I love the game of baseball," Henderson said in his induction speech on July 26, 2009. "That's why it was so hard for me to walk away from the game."

Nicole Pappas was the public relations intern in the Class of 2011 Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program

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