Sunday, October 22, 2006

If Only...

If only the Phillies would have selected Rickey Henderson with one of their first 4 picks in the 1976 draft maybe we could be feeling a whole lot different as sad-sack Phils fans. Perhaps we would be the envy of the 80's and 90's instead of the A's and Yankees. But no, we selected shortstop Jeff Kraus in the first round of the '76 draft. Doesn't that name ring a bell? Well, there's a good reason for that, the poor sock puppet never even played in the Majors. But a little musclebound speedster born on Christmas day did happen to play in the Majors from that same draft and he was chosen in the 4th round and went on to become the best leadoff hitter of all-time, stolen base king, and sure 1st ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Rickey Henderson was dubbed the Man of Steal because he used to knock over coner stores growing up in the hood of Chicago. Or maybe he got that nickname because he stole 1,406 bases in his career with an 81% success rate. To put that in perspective that's about 1,400 more bases than the current Phillies' burner Pat Burrell has stolen in his career...c'mon Pat! Rickey once stole 130 bases in a season ('82), that's more hits than Burrell had last season...dammit Burrell! Stealing bases wasn't all Rickey could do, as he finished his career up with 2,295 runs, 3,055 hits, 297 homeruns, 1,115 rbi, and 2,190 walks, plus a lifetime .401 on base %. Now that's a leadoff man!

So, back to how all this relates to the Phillies. Other than the early 80's and 1993, the Phillies had been a joke. If Rickey Henderson would have been on those squads we might be looking at the not so distant history in a different light. Instead of the Yankees and A's dominating most of the postseasons, it could have been our beloved Phillies instead. Maybe the Phils would be the toast of the town, and the marquee baseball team of popularity around America and the world instead of the f'n Yanks. Maybe we'd have a few more name placards on the World Series Trophy instead of 1 in our 123 years of existence. Maybe we wouldn't be such a fricken laughing stock! If only...

~Carson

*This post is dedicated to Corey, as Rickey was his favorite player growing up. I remember he had posters of him on his wall even up through high school...good stuff. Happy birthday bro!

17 comments:

Maria said...

If only...

GM-Carson said...

I could do a lot of "if only" themed pieces. If only Jim Leyland was the Phillies manager. If only Lenny Dykstra would have never got hurt in that car crash. If only Chris Wheeler knew what the hell he was talking about. If only the Phillies would have never allowed Steve Jeltz go...the list goes on.

~Carson

XXX said...

Every time I hear the name Steve Jeltz, I die a little inside.

GM-Carson said...

XXX- Corey and me are linked to Steve Jeltz in a funny way. If you type in Steve Jeltz on a Google search then click for images, we're the 3rd picture...good stuff!

Steve Jeltz is soul brotha #1!

BenJah said...

i was at a newark-bears/somerset-patriots game in jersey a couple years ago and the bears pitcher was throwing a no hitter. a flare went into left field and rickey decided to be rickey again: he dove OUT OF NOWHERE, i swear he was in the air for 7 minutes, and caught the ball to end the inning. then made 7 of the last 9 outs w/ catches in the outfield. the pitcher no doubt went home and called him mom to say "rickey henderson saved my no hitter!" he was pretty good in the majors too...all time leader in runs, SB and walks, plus 3K hits.

BenJah said...

oh, and my call on the mets was pretty good....barely. i'm picking the cards in seven (i'm a national league guy), but i probably should have put that on record before last nite to qualify for oracle status.

GM-Carson said...

benjah, it still counts. you're on the board.

i shed a single tear every time i think about rickey henderson. to me, the greatest player i ever saw. he impacted a game like no one else (until barroid bonds juiced himself up to hulk proportions...) hitting for average, walking, stealing, taking the extra base, talking in 3rd person. he represented everything that was good with baseball...well, not really. i mean, he might have been the most conceited baseball player ever(except barroid). but his love for baseball is obvious by him playing indy ball for a few years. you'll always here announcers saying something like "he's the next rickey henderson" or "he's like rickey henderson leading off" but no one will ever match rickey (by ever, i mean a long time.)

rickey's biggest accomplishment...he made me not want to throw up when i saw the yankees...

thanks for the post carson. much love.

my world series prediction...padres in 6.

corey

GM-Carson said...

Oh Rickey you're so fine, you're so fine, you blow my mind! Hey Rickey!

World Series prediction Brooklyn Dodgers over Philadelphia Athletics in 6. Mark my word on that one.

~Carson

Sal said...

Sal just wants to go on record and let you know - the Yankees didn't win a damn thing when Rickey Henderson was on the team (the best they did was finishin' 2nd in the AL East in '86).

So, basically, the Yanks were better with Sal than they were with Rickey.

Fu Manchu,
Sal

BloodStripes said...

Ricky Henderson is an all-time champion. 2nd on the career stolen base list is a country mile behind Ricky. There may never be another speedster like him. 3000 hit club, SB king.....A legend!

Happy birthday Doc!

GM-Carson said...

Sal seems bitter. Saw Sal elected for free agency too, who do you plan to sign with?

Los said...

He was a jerk ... but one helluva player.

GM-Carson said...

Rickey talking about himself- "Rickey loves the game of baseball, and the game of baseball loves Rickey. Rickey is the greatest leadoff man of all-time. Rickey be the Man of Steal, and ain't nobody competin' with that. And to all Rickey's fans, Rickey says thanks."

BENTZ said...

Rickey also had perhaps the most power of any lead-off hitter. Hard to imagine anyone breaking his mark for lead-off homers.

P.S. Phillies just signed Jamie Moyer to a 2-year extension. 4 of the 5 starters appear now to be set for 2007.

BENTZ said...

As a follow-up to my post, with it being so well established that the Mets struggle severely against lefties, I wonder if the Phils sign Wolf to be the #5 starter and go with a three lefty rotation. All I know is, if they had those five guys they had in September all season long, they might not have beaten out the Mets to win the East, but they would've won the Wild Card by 5 games.

GM-Carson said...

I hope the Phils now try to retain Wolf or go get Lilly, Batista, or someone else that is at least #5 worthy. Things are starting to look up for Phillies fans.

Maria said...

READ MY NEW POST!!!