You can do this trick now using Baseball-Reference.com, but back when I did it in 2001, BB-Ref didn’t yet exist and I had to figure it out by myself . . . twice. Henderson’s long career makes him the perfect candidate for this kind of game.
Six Degrees Of Rickey Henderson #1: Rickey And Honus Wagner.
1. Rickey played with Jim Spencer on the 1981 A’s.
2. Spencer played with Hoyt Wilhelm on the 1969 Angels.
3. Wilhelm played with Bob Elliot on the 1952 Giants.
4. Elliot played with Paul Waner on the 1939 Pirates.
5. Waner played with Max Carey on the 1927 Pirates.
6. Carey played with Honus Wagner on the 1917 Pirates.
Six Degrees Of Rickey Henderson #2: Rickey And Cap Anson
Colleague and reader Jerry Beach wrote in regretting that last week’s SDORH did not make use of Bobby Valentine. Regrettably, managers are a cheat in Six Degrees; you can skip multiple generations with them and get to about anywhere in time. To wit:
1. Rickey played for Billy Martin on the 1980 Oakland A’s.
2. Martin played for Casey Stengel on the 1948 Oakland Oaks.
3. Stengel played for John McGraw on the 1921 New York Giants.
4. McGraw played with Jake Stenzel on the 1897 Baltimore Orioles.
5. Stenzel played with Cap Anson on the 1890 Chicago White Stockings.
By this method, Henderson, born 1958, is but five steps removed from Anson, born 1852. Using managers, one could probably connect Henderson to Abraham Lincoln.