Over a half-season of poor play has kept hundreds of fans from convening at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Finally, there is a reason for those fans to come back for at least one night.
According to Oaklandathletics.com, the Oakland Athletics announced on Thursday that team will retire the No. 24 jersey of Rickey Henderson on Saturday, Aug. 1.
The entire weekend will be in honor of Rickey Henderson. Ten-thousand fans coming on the first will receive a Rickey Henderson replica jersey presented by Pepsi. The next day, 10,000 fans will be handed out a Rickey Henderson banner presented by Kingsford Capital Management.
The on-field festivities will take place before the A's game with the Toronto Blue Jays. The regular scheduled game is set to start at 6:20 PM PST.
Along with team officials, special guests for the evening will include Dave Stewart, Mike Norris, Bob Welch, Dave Henderson, Mike Davis, Rene Lachemann, and the infamous Shooty Babitt.
Rickey Henderson will join Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, and Reggie Jackson as the only Oakland players to have their number retired.
As of now, I have heard no plans of retiring Shooty Babitt's No. 3.
Rickey Henderson will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, NY on July 26.
A graduate from Oakland Tech High School, Henderson made his debut with the Oakland A's in 1979 at the age of 20. He played 25 major league seasons, including four stints with the A's that covered 14 years.
Rickey Henderson is all-time leader in both runs scored and stolen bases. He also still holds the record for most home runs leading off a game with 81.
His historic achievements with the A's include stealing 130 bases in 1982 for the single-season record and breaking Lou Brock's career stolen base mark in 1991.
After a trade with the New York Yankees, Rickey Henderson came back to Oakland to help lead the A's to their last World Series championship in 1989. In 1990, Henderson was named American League MVP after batting .325 with 119 runs scored, 28 home runs, 61 RBI, 33 doubles, and 65 stolen bases.
It is an excellent idea to retire Rickey Henderson's number this year, since the team needs to celebrate something. However, I would set up a doubleheader.
The first game can be the regular scheduled outing with the Blue Jays. The second game should between this year's version of the A's, and the players that show up for the Rickey Henderson celebration.
I'm quite curious to see who would actually win. Plus, I really miss seeing Shooty Babitt play.