Saturday, September 12, 2015

Awesome night card, pt. 242: Traveling Rickey

When this card arrived in my collection it was a big moment. I didn't break out the champagne or anything, but how many times does a Dodger collector and a set collector, who ignores player-collecting, wind up with a card of Rickey Henderson as a Padre?

Night cards are a blessing in many ways.

Henderson played for so many teams that it's always fun to see a card of him in a new uniform. If I collected Henderson cards, I would have a card of him with all nine of his teams as they're in good supply. But much of Henderson's team-hopping occurred when I wasn't collecting. So let's see which Rickey teams I have and which are missing in the ol' collection.

A's Rickey (1979-84)

Of course I have cards of initial A's Rickey. He debuted when I was trying to collect every card set under the sun. Everyone knows Henderson's 1980 Topps rookie card, and, yes, I have it (I used to own three of them). But it's a lot more fun to show something else. This '81 Donruss Rickey does nicely.

Yankees Rickey (1985-89)

I collected a little less during this period, but still plenty enough to land some Yankee Rickeys. Yankee Rickey, by the way, is the least appealing Rickey (even worse than Mets Rickey). I tolerated him only because the '80s Yankees weren't going anywhere.

A's Rickey (1989-93)

Back to the A's, a trip Rickey would make four times. No problem finding a Tour 2 A's Rickey during another fruitful collecting period for me. This is 1990 box-bottom Rickey.

Blue Jays Rickey (1993)


Tough one. There are plenty of Blue Jays Rickeys in 1994 sets. Unfortunately, that's the time when lots of collectors, including me, walked out on baseball and the hobby. I have less than 100 non-Dodger cards from 1994. None of them are Blue Jays Rickey.

A's Rickey (1994-95)


I pretty much ignored Rickey's third trip to the A's. Didn't buy many cards in '95 and '96 is one of the few years in my life in which I didn't buy a single card.

Padres Rickey (1996-97)


Surprisingly, I did once own a Padres Rickey from either '96 or '97 Upper Deck (they're easy to confuse), but I traded it away.

Angels Rickey (1997)


Didn't collect in the late '90s, and the cards issued then still do nothing for me. Besides, who wants a Rickey in that awful Angels uniform they wore back then. Blue? Pinstripes?

A's Rickey (1998)


The fourth and final A's Rickey. I missed it. But we all know first A's Rickey cards are the best Rickey cards.

Mets Rickey (1999-2000)


We're at the point of this exercise where I wonder why I bothered. There are plenty of Mets Rickey cards, most of him wearing those horrible black Mets jerseys. I owned a Mets Rickey card once, but again traded it away. Probably because he was wearing that horrible black Mets jersey.

Mariners Rickey (2000)


To this day, you'll have a difficult time convincing me that Henderson played for the Mariners. This is where baseball cards help. They bring reality to an American League West team. But didn't you hear? I wasn't collecting then.

Padres Rickey (2001)

Here is Padres Part 2 Rickey. This isn't the only night card Rickey I own, but it's one of just a handful. It recognizes Henderson breaking the career walks record that was held by Babe Ruth. On the back, Topps quotes Henderson as saying, "Babe was 'Mr. Baseball'". Of course, we all know that's actually Tom Selleck.

Red Sox Rickey (2002)

One of my favorite Rickey cards. The many moods of Rickey on one card.

Dodgers Rickey (2003)

Henderson played fewer games with the Dodgers (30) than any other team for which he donned a uniform. (He played 32 games with the Angels and 44 with the Blue Jays). Yet I own 14 cards of Dodgers Rickey, which is more than I own of any other team except for the A's.

That, by itself, demonstrates that I'm a Dodger collector and a set collector, but not a player collector.

I don't have any plans to track down a Blue Jays, Angels, Mets or Mariners Rickey. I rather like the idea of having them randomly fall into my collection. And if they don't, well, it wasn't meant to be.

Like Rickey said:

"Let bye-byes be bye-byes."


Awesome Night Card: Rickey Henderson, 2002 Topps Opening Day Season Highlight, #161
Does it make the binder?: Tough call, since this card is going up against this one. But yes it does. No night card binder is complete without some Rickey.


  1. Rickey is the Greatest. Just ask him!
    I am a player collector guy, I'm not sure if I could complete the set of Rickey in each stop, either- I think Angels and Mets would be missing for sure.

  2. Rickey in Seattle made a bigger splash that you might've thought, probably because of all those tours with Oakland beforehand. He accomplished a rarity in 2000 by hitting lead off homers against the same pitcher in consecutive starts (Steve Trachsel, May 21 & 26). Can't imagine that happening many times in history.

  3. I remember during the winter of 1984 when RIckey was a free agent that the Dodgers were talking about signing him but they were still gun-shy in pursuing free agents from their Don Stanhouse/Dave Goltz mistakes. It would have been interesting to see him in his prime wearing Dodger Blue.

  4. I forgot he played for either LA team and turns out he played for both.

  5. I'll always remember that he was a Mariner because of the (false, but still hilarious to think about) story regarding his exchange with John Olerud:

    In spring training 1999, Rickey Henderson of the Mets was reunited with first baseman John Olerud, who had been his teammate with the Blue Jays six years earlier. As most people know, Olerud had an aneurysm in college, which required brain surgery. So to protect his head, he was allowed to wear a helmet in the field. As the story goes, Henderson was talking to Olerud one day, noticed the helmet and said “You know, when I played in Toronto, we had a guy who wore a helmet.”

    “Rickey,” said Olerud, “that was me.”

    1. That's a hilarious story.Rickey was always a bit aloof.

  6. Don't forget about his stint with the Mercury Mets! That would be great to have a card of! B^)

    (For anyone who doesn't know, this was from a "Turn Ahead The Clock" night, trying to play off the "Turn Back The Clock" throwback nights. One of the worst promotions ever. The image was used for him on the scoreboard.)