They called it a “Rickey Rally”. The Oakland A’s of the late 1980s and 90s counted on Rickey Henderson to jump-start the offense. They just never knew in what form it would come.
Sometimes he just hit a home run and saved everyone the trouble.
Rickey Henderson rookie cards mark the beginning of a 25-year career. It’s really the perfect image of Henderson, arms tensed, body shifted slightly backward as he prepares to uncoil all kinds of chaos.
Henderson was appreciated in Oakland, but even now, long after his final at-bat, his career stats and impact on the game still don’t seem real. He was brash, marched to his own tune and proved willing to chase a buck more than once. But he might be the best player of his generation.
Rickey by the Numbers
Born on Christmas Day, 1958, Rickey was a base thief like no other. His record of 130 steals in a season set in 1982 isn’t likely to fall. For his career, he earned 1,406 free passes with his incredible speed and technique. But to anyone who watched him, he was much more. Henderson finished with 3055 hits, 297 homers including more in the leadoff spot than any player in history and 1,115 runs batted in. He was a ten-time All-Star and won the 1990 American League MVP and the 1989 ALCS MVP.
Said A’s general manager Billy Beane, who played with Henderson on Oakland’s 1989 World Series championship team, “he’s the greatest leadoff hitter of all time, and I’m not sure there’s a close second.”
Early Rickey Henderson Cards
Rickey has been a modest hit with collectors but it considering his accomplishments, it’s a little surprising he doesn’t get more love. His 1980 Topps rookie card is really the only one from that issue worth having. It’s the last rookie card in the era of Topps’ monopoly. By ’81, Rickey and everyone else had at least three cards as Donruss and Fleer entered the picture. He’s clearly among the game’s all-time best, but you wouldn’t know it from charting what should be a sought-after card, even for those who don’t consider it a ‘vintage’ card.
The 1980 Topps #482 isn’t terrifically hard to find, but like many issues of the era, it’s not always well-centered. Henderson rookie cards–even in higher grades– are still within reach of nearly every collector or investor. Even PSA 9 graded examples are available for between $325 and $375. Those graded 8 are less than $75. Ungraded Henderson rookie cards, even in what would appear to be near mint condition, sometimes change hands for less than $35.
Henderson also has a couple of minor league cards including one from his 1977 stint at Class A Modesto and another from his final stop in Ogden, UT in 1979, just before he was called up to Oakland for good.
Some of his more recent autographed cards are readily available and often inexpensive. Check out the hottest Rickey Henderson cards of all kinds on eBay via the live list below.
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