Rickey Henderson and almost making the 300-300 club
By David Hill
There are only eight members of the 300-300 club in major league history. Rickey Henderson just missed being the ninth.
During the height of his career, Rickey Henderson was known for his impressive power as a leadoff hitter and his incredible speed. He hit a major league record 81 leadoff home runs out of his career 297 homers, and stole 1406 bases, 468 steals more than Lou Brock in second place.
While Henderson had an impressive career, ending up as a first ballot Hall of Famer, he also just missed out on another exclusive club. Only eight players in MLB history have hit 300 homers and stolen 300 bases in their career, a collection that Henderson fell just three home runs short of.
That group is an interesting collection of players. There are two Hall of Famers in Andre Dawson and Willie Mays. Then there are the PED players, Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds (Bonds is also the only member of the 400-400 and 500-500 clubs). Carlos Beltran has a strong Hall of Fame case himself, but may miss out because of AstroGate. Bobby Bonds, Barry’s father, also joined the club as the second member. Then there are Reggie Sanders and Steve Finley, two players that are all but forgotten.
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One has to wonder if Rickey knew that Rickey was three homers away from making history. He did hang around long after his career seemed to be over, playing for eight different organizations over his final seven years in the majors. In that time, he stuck around long enough to make certain he reached various milestones.
His 3000th career hit? That came as a member of the Padres in 2001, a year where he had just 86 hits in 476 plate appearances. His record setting 2246th run? Also with the Padres that year, when he slid into home after hitting a home run, waving his teammates aside. At least his 2000th career run came as a matter of the A’s…in his fourth stint with the team.
He also never officially retired. Henderson floated around the independent leagues for another three years, producing a .291/.467/.463 batting line with 22 homers and 62 steals in his 937 plate appearances in the Atlantic League and the Golden Baseball League. Perhaps he was hoping for another major league team to come calling, giving him a chance to get those three homers he needed.
The 300-300 club has just eight members, with Rickey Henderson barely missing out. He certainly did his best to try to join another exclusive fraternity, sticking around far beyond his shelf life.