Athletics

Rickey Henderson's 'greatest of all time' speech wasn't part of plan

Rickey Henderson's 'greatest of all time' speech wasn't part of plan

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.

Cleveland Indians follow Washington, could change controversial name

Cleveland Indians follow Washington, could change controversial name

Have we seen the last game between the A's and the Cleveland Indians as they're known today? Just hours after the NFL team in Washington announced it would consider changing its racist nickname, Cleveland's MLB franchise released a statement indicating that the team was open to discussions on changing the "Indians" nickname.

The franchise has used the "Indians" moniker for over a century, switching over from the Cleveland Naps back in 1915. Broncos, Bluebirds, Lake Shores and Bustlers all also are nicknames the franchise has had in its lengthy history.

[RELATED: How Black MLB players are confined by baseball's conservative culture]

 

Cleveland's management clearly has understood how the nickname could be considered offensive, as it removed the controversial "Chief Wahoo" alternate logo from the team's uniforms and most apparel at the end of the 2018 season.

Public pressure has mounted in the wake of sweeping support across the nation for reform to fight systemic racism and police brutality in the United States. 

It won't be a surprise if we see not one, but two major American sports franchises completely rebrand with a new nickname and mascot before 2020 wraps up.

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

A's still deciding on alternate training site due to coronavirus issue

A's still deciding on alternate training site due to coronavirus issue

The A’s activated a 60-man player pool to start training for the upcoming 2020 baseball season. Most of those players will work out of Oakland Coliseum during a three-week camp to prepare for games that count. The rest will go to an alternate site that the A’s have yet to determine.

“That has not been easy,” A’s general manager David Forst said Friday. “We’re working on that. We have a lot of players and staff members waiting by the phone anxious to hear when they’re leaving and when they’re going. I’m spending a lot of time working on that, as are a lot of other people.”

Stockton was the most obvious location. The A's Single-A affiliate resides there, so it seemed natural the Ports would host members of the player pool not training in Oakland and, eventually, those not part of the 30-man roster.

The A’s didn’t cement that site due to increased concerns over spikes in coronavirus cases and the heightened restrictions that followed.

[RELATED: A's have no opt-outs, injury issues entering training camp]

Stockton remains a possibility, though the A’s have explored other options in relatively close proximity to their home base. The ongoing public health crisis that delayed the MLB season, canceled the minor league baseball campaign and created a need for a reserve squad capable of filling in for the MLB players injured or infected, plays a part in the ultimate selection.

“Stockton is in the mix,” Forst said. “Anywhere we’ve looked around here, the situation with the virus is a factor. San Joaquin County, Stanislaus County -- we’ve looked around Alameda County -- how each county is handling things and their particular orders come into play when we’re looking into alternate sites.”

The A’s obviously need a quality baseball complex and housing around it for their players to temporarily reside, making options somewhat limited. Finding the right spot, and soon, will be important as players start to prepare in earnest for the season ahead.