#1: Rickey Henderson
It’s not hard to make the case for Rickey Henderson being the most valuable player the Athletics have ever had. He was capable of doing anything, and rightfully regarded as the best lead-off hitter of all-time. With a career average of .279 and more than 3,000 hits, he was one of the most consistently productive batters in recent history.
What truly set Henderson apart, however, is his ability to steal. His 1,406 career steals destroyed the record of Lou Brock, and he holds baseball’s single-season steals record with 130 stolen bags in 1982. No one is ever going to beat that record. Henderson is the only player to notch three 100-steal seasons, let alone 130. He also holds the A’s franchise record for stolen bases.
Although not unanimous, Henderson received 94.8 percent of the vote on his first Hall of Fame ballot in 2009, showing how much respect he had as a player. And with good reason.
Just to list a few of his accomplishments, he was a ten-time All-Star with two World Series rings, and he won three Silver Slugger Awards, as well as a Gold Glove. In 12 seasons, he led the league in stolen bases, and he also took home the MVP in 1990.
Henderson’s number 24 was retired by the Athletics on August 1, 2009, just two years after Henderson himself conceded to retire.
Who do you think the best players are? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.