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Blackjack Henderson

So I fell asleep a few hours earlier than usual and when I woke up, was greeted with news that made me feel like I'd just entered bizarro-world.

Look for a Rickey Henderson "Our Special Bonds" quiz in the near future, which won't be easy to generate because the volume of material to work with is so great. And the one good thing about replacing Rick Down. The MLB walk-off RBI count reads: Rickey Henderson: 21, Rick Down 0. That tally seems like a pretty appropriate number in this case. After all, we know Rickey Henderson is quite familiar with playing cards.

Twenty one walk-offs is a lot. In fact, according to, which tracks such things, it's the third-most walk-off RBI by anyone since 1957 (aka, the Retrosheet era). Though Rickey trails Frank Robinson (27) and Dusty Baker(25), he's done something that neither of them could- he had a walk-off RBI in four different decades, and perhaps he's waiting to make his next comeback in 2,010, to give him a chance at 5-decade immortality. Among the other bits of walk-off minutiae we've gleaned from glancing at a trove of Rickey data.

* Rickey Henderson's first walk-off RBI came in his 69th major-league game (a walk-off walk against the White Sox in 1979). His last one came in his 2,879th major-league game (a walk-off fielder's choice against the Marlins in 2001). So in other words, in between Rickey Henderson's first and last walk-off RBI, you could squeeze Frank Robinson's entire MLB career (2,808 games).

* Rickey Henderson played 1,704 games with the Oakland Athletics and had 19 walk-off RBI, which amounts to one every 89.7 games. He played 1,377 games for other teams and had 2 walk-off RBI, which amounts to one every 688.5 games. He had no walk-off RBI in 152 games with the Mets.

* Rickey Henderson had a walk-off RBI against 2 pitchers who were Mets at one time in their careers. The odd combo is Terry Leach (of the 1992 White Sox) and Braden Looper (circa 2001 Marlins).

* Rickey Henderson was fast enough on April 11, 1980, to hit a walk-off triple (something done only once in Mets history) but never was slow enough to hit a walk-off double. The breakdown is: 9 singles, 5 home runs, 3 sacrifice flies, 2 walks, a triple, and a fielder's choice.

* Rickey Henderson has had walk-off RBI come in the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, and 17th innings, but never had one in the 14th inning or 16th inning of a game. He's had 13 walk-off RBI in the 9th inning and a dozen in extra-innings.

* Rickey Henderson has had a walk-off RBI against 3 pitchers currently active. We've already mentioned Looper. The other two are Ron Villone (1995) and Troy Percival (1998).

True Metdersons know...If you add the Mets walk-off RBI totals of Kevin McReynolds (8), Rusty Staub (7) and any of either Ed Kranepool, Cleon Jones, or George Foster (6 each), you'd get 21, matching the number of walk-off RBI that Rickey Henderson had in his career.


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