This Monday the Oakland A’s will announced that the playing surface at the Oakland Coliseum will be renamed in honor of Rickey Henderson, who is “the greatest Athletic of all time.” This announcement came to the public via Twitter and it has definitely turned some heads! There will be a ceremony on Opening Day, April 3, prior to a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. From then on the Oakland Athletics ballpark will be called ‘Rickey Henderson Field’.
Henderson will also serve as Special Assistant to the President of the A’s.
“Rickey Henderson is the greatest Athletic of all time. It is fitting we honor and recognize his impact on our franchise by naming our playing field after him,” said Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval to whom Henderson will be Special Assistant. “In addition to his current role on our baseball development staff, I am also excited he will be joining us in the front office to serve as a representative of Green and Gold baseball.”
Henderson was obviously very thrilled by this and responded:
“This is an incredible honor and I am humbled that the field I have so many incredible memories on is now named after me,” said Henderson. “I love this organization and our fans and look forward to contributing to our success for many years to come.”
Henderson is the Athletics’ all-time leader in runs scored with 1,270, walks with 1,227 and stolen bases with 867. He set the modern-era record for stolen bases in a season in 1982 when he stole 130 for the A’s, and the only person to ever steal more bases in a season was Hugh Nicol with 138. Also, he is the all-time stolen base leader and easily the greatest leadoff hitter in the history of the game.
Henderson spent 14 of his 25 career seasons in Oakland. In addition to that, Henderson will also be a part of the A’s marketing plan. Rickey Henderson Day will be July 25, when fans on hand for the A’s and Indians will get a white A’s jersey with Henderson’s name and number, 24, on the back.
I am not sure why this change was made, it could be to honor one of greatest players in baseball history and easily the greatest in the A’s franchise history. Or this may be just another one of the Oakland A’s “Steve Finley like” publicity stunts like sheep behind the outfield, nicknames such as Catfish or Blue Moon, gaudy jerseys, or growing out facial hair. Regardless of the motive, there is no better player they could have chosen for this. Also, I might add that Rickey Henderson Field is a pretty cool name!