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Throwback Thursday: The Man of Steal

Aug 1, 2013, 12:13 PM PDT

Rickey Henderson salutes the crowd after stealing his 100th base on August 2, 1982. -- ASSOCIATED PRESS

Most thieves are prosecuted, this one was celebrated.

Rickey Henderson became known as “The Man of Steal” for a reason. On this week in 1982, Henderson stole his 100th base of the season. Henderson would swipe 30 more bases that year, making him the all-time single-season stolen base leader of the modern era.

He reached 100 stolen bases for the first time in 1980 and did it again in 1983, but 1992 was his best tally.

MLB’s all-time single-season SB leaders:

1. Hugh Nicol, 138 (1887)

2. Rickey Henderson, 130 (1982)

3. Arlie Latham, 129 (1887)

4. Lou Brock, 118 (1974)

5. Charlie Comiskey, 117 (1887)

Commonly referred to as “Rickey” in the Bay Area, the A’s speedster is baseball’s all-time stolen base leader with 1,406, and his 2,295 runs scored are also the most in MLB history. Easily the greatest top-of-the-order hitter of all time, no player can rival his 81 leadoff home runs.

Henderson led the American League in stolen bases from 1980 to 1986. In 1987, Harold Reynolds swiped 60 bags and finished ahead of Henderson, who only played in 95 games due to an injury. That didn’t sit well with Rickey, according to Reynolds, now an MLB Network analyst. On one of their shows he told a classic story about Rickey being Rickey.

“The phone rings. ‘Henderson here.’ I say, ‘Hey, what’s going on, Rickey?’ I think he’s calling to congratulate me, but he goes, ‘Sixty stolen bases? You ought to be ashamed. Rickey would have 60 at the break.’ And then click, he hung up.”

Henderson backed up his bravado and led the league in stolen bases for the next four seasons.

A living legend, there are several other tales about Rickey from his playing days. Not all of them have been confirmed as true. But they sure are entertaining.

Henderson played for the A’s from 1979 to 1984, was traded to the Yankees, then returned from 1989 to 1993. He was actually traded to the Blue Jays on this week in 1993. He would later return home in 1994, 1995, and 1998.

Henderson is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, 10-time All-Star and two-time World Series Champion. He grew up in Oakland, graduated from Oakland Technical High School, and currently serves as a roving instructor for the A’s.

For much more on Rickey Henderson: Check out’s Legends features.

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