Oakland A’s: The gift of Rickey Henderson

NEW YORK - CIRCA 1992: Outfielder Rickey Henderson #22 of the Oakland Athletics bats bats against the New York Yankees during an Major League Baseball game circa 1992 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Henderson played for the Athletics from 1979-84, 1989-93,1994-95 and 1998. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1992: Outfielder Rickey Henderson #22 of the Oakland Athletics bats bats against the New York Yankees during an Major League Baseball game circa 1992 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Henderson played for the Athletics from 1979-84, 1989-93,1994-95 and 1998. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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It makes sense that Rickey Henderson was born on Christmas Day. He was the gift that kept on giving to the Oakland A’s, having four different stints with the franchise as a player. Henderson was not just the greatest leadoff hitter in the history of the game, but he was one of the greatest players in A’s history.

There was one specific return that stands out. As it is Christmas, MLB.com took a look back at the greatest gifts each franchise has received in their history. The trade that sent Henderson from the Yankees back to Oakland was considered the biggest gift that the team had received.

The gift of Rickey Henderson

The Yankees were in a difficult spot with Henderson. He was slated to be a free agent at the end of the 1989 campaign, and the team was loath to give him a long term deal. As such, the Yankees were looking to trade Henderson, but he would only accept a trade to the A’s.

That deal came together on June 21. The A’s sent Luis Polonia, Greg Cadaret, and Eric Plunk (who was sent to Oakland for Henderson in the first deal) to New York to bring Henderson back home. That deal worked out as the A’s went on the win the World Series that season, sweeping the Giants despite the earthquake that delayed the championship.

Henderson stayed in Oakland beyond that 1989 season. He was an All Star and won the final of his three Silver Slugger awards in 1990, taking home the AL MVP award. Although he was not able to replicate that season in subsequent years, Henderson remained a solid player, even in his third and fourth stints with the A’s.

dark. Next. A hypothetical trade for Frankie Montas

The Yankees were looking to trade Rickey Henderson in 1989. His refusal to be sent anywhere other than the Oakland A’s was quite the gift.

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