Pinstripe Alley was fortunate enough to be able to get a quick interview with former Yankee and current Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, and I was lucky enough to get to conduct said interview. To say that I loved watching Rickey Henderson play baseball growing up is an understatement. Along with Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield, Rickey was one of my favorite players to watch. He brought something to the game of baseball that has really never been seen before, and that might never be seen again. For those who don't know me, I love speed. I've always loved to run and be faster than all of my friends. I love to drive fast, and if you ask me what my favorite superpower is, it is super-speed. It's one of the main reasons I love watching Brett Gardner so much on the current team, but even he is no Rickey Henderson.
Rickey Henderson played for the Yankees from 1985-1989, and in that time, set the Yankees franchise record for most stolen bases with 326. Just to put that into perspective, Derek Jeter now holds the record after he surpassed that number in 2011. It took Derek Jeter fifteen years to surpass a record that Rickey Henderson set in four years with the Yankees, which should give you some kind of idea of how good Rickey Henderson was on the base paths. Rickey was a first ballot Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, still currently holding the record for career stolen bases with 1,406, runs scored with 2,295, unintentional walks with 2,219, and lead-off home runs with 81. It was an absolute pleasure to watch him play the game of baseball, both with the Yankees and the other teams he played with, and it was an absolute thrill to have the chance to conduct this quick ten minute phone interview with him. This interview is courtesy of the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams program.
The interview after the jump...IGYAR - "Thank you very much for your time, Mr. Henderson. Can you tell me about your experience during your time with the Yankees?
RH - "I had a great time with the Yankees. A great time. Dale Berra, he was an absolute thrill to play with. The clubhouse was a lot of fun at times. Don Mattingly, also really great. He was such a great 1st baseman. I'm really happy he got to be a manager. Dave Winfield was also great to play with. You know at the time, we had the hitting. We definitely had the hitting, but we just didn't have the pitching to go all the way."
IGYAR - "Yeah, I remember that as well. One of my favorite things about watching you play the game was your speed and base stealing ability. What advice would you offer players today about stealing bases?"
RH - "It's really all about being not afraid to get thrown out. You have to go, you have to be able to read the pitcher. You have to really focus on the pitcher and try to know what he's going to do, but you also have to not be afraid to get thrown out. That's how it's done. Focus on the pitcher."
IGYAR - "You were a player that I really admired growing up. Can you tell us which players you admired when you were growing up?"
RH - "Well I originally thought that I was going to go into football. I was originally going to be a football player. As a baseball player, a player I really admired was Reggie Jackson. He helped me when I was younger and always liked to give some advice to myself and other players. So yeah, as a baseball player, Reggie Jackson.
IGYAR - "Are there any players out there today that you see as really good base runners that could come close to your achievements?"
RH - "Not really. I thought it might be Jose Reyes. I thought it might be Carl Crawford. But it's just not the same. Like I was saying before, it's about not being afraid to get thrown out and focusing on the pitcher and I just don't see that in the players today. It's just not the same as it use to be."
IGYAR - "I agree. Finally, can you tell us about the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams program you are participating in?"
RH - "It's really a great opportunity. It was started last year and brought back this year. People can go to www.mlb.com/PepsiMax and have the opportunity to play with all these legendary baseball players. All they have to do is write in their favorite famous players and fans can win and play with these players next spring. The winners will be announced during the postseason this year. It's definitely a great opportunity."
IGYAR - "Thank you. Mr. Henderson, on behalf of myself and Pinstripe Alley, I would like to thank you for taking your time for this interview."
RH - "My pleasure. Thank you."
Again, this interview was courtesy of the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams program, which is in it's 2nd year of running. You can go to www.mlb.com/PepsiMax and cast your ballot for your favorite legendary players and win a chance to play with them next spring. If you are in the Columbus, OH area, you can purchase your tickets to this year's Field of Dreams game on May 12th at Huntington Park.
As a fan of Rickey Henderson growing up, this interview was a personal absolute thrill for me. I'd just personally like to thank PSA for allowing me the chance to interview him. The young IGYAR in me was just beaming. Thanks again.