Athletics

Athletics

One of the most iconic moments in Oakland A's history wasn't supposed to happen the way it played out.

On May 1, 1991 -- 29 years ago today -- A's outfielder Rickey Henderson stole the 939th base of his Hall of Fame career, breaking the record held by former St. Louis Cardinals star Lou Brock.

The game stopped to honor Henderson, and the flashy superstar said "Today, I am the greatest of all time."

It's a phrase no one will ever forget, but according to Brock, Henderson went off script.

In a column posted on Friday, ESPN's Tim Kurkjian recalled a chat he had with Brock during Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown, New York a few years ago.

"Brock said that he and Rickey had grown close during Henderson's pursuit, and together they wrote a short speech that Rickey would read, on the field, immediately after he broke the record.

Rickey would keep the speech in the pocket of his uniform. But when Henderson stole base No. 939, he got caught up in the moment, started speaking, as Brock, watching from a distance, said, "No, Rickey, the speech?!''

Brock smiled. He spoke to Rickey. Rickey said, 'Sorry, I forgot.' "

We're sure the speech Henderson and Brock prepared would have been great, but it would not have topped Henderson proclaiming himself the "greatest of all time."

[RELATED: Henderson inducted into Bay Area Sports HOF]

 

Whenever Henderson or any other star athlete goes off script, it's usually gold for everybody watching.