He holds the record for most runs scored in MLB, with 2,295, which is actually pretty significant since that is the objective of the game.
He also leads the all-time leaderboard in leadoff home runs, with 81.
Henderson is, however, associated with one particular baseball play: stolen bases.
In fact, Henderson holds the two records in MLB that most speedsters would want: most stolen bases in a career (1,406) and over a season (130, in 1982).
Baseball, and sports in general, have taught us to never say never, but both of those stolen base records are highly unlikely to be broken.
The game is just played differently these days: there are more home runs and much fewer stolen bases than when Henderson played.
Rickey Henderson holds the @MLB record for SB with 1,406.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) February 3, 2022
The Real King Of Stolen Bases
For example, Starling Marte led MLB in stolen bases last year, with 47.
He would have to triple that total to surpass Henderson’s record of 130.
It’s just an insane number of thefts by an insanely talented player back in the day.
That year, in 1982, he played in 149 games, so he stole nearly one base per game on average.
We likely won’t see that again, not with the way baseball is played these days.
But no one will ever threaten Henderson’s record of 130 stolen bases in a season, at least not soon.
His other record, the 1,406 total steals, is even more unbreakable.
The second-ranked player, Lou Brock, finished his career with 938.
He has 468 steals on Brock, close to the final tally of another famed modern speedster, Jimmy Rollins (470).
The closest active player to Henderson’s tally is Dee Strange-Gordon, who has 333 and ranks 127th.
If someone will break Henderson’s 1,406 stolen bases record, that person still isn’t in the league.
Odds are that they haven’t been born yet.
Lost in his incredible speed is the fact he was a complete player, an impact performer.
A Truly Impressive Career
Henderson certainly knew how to take a walk, which is evidenced by his .279/.401/.419 line.
But he also had some power: not every speedster is capable of hitting 297 career home runs.
He had a rare combination of power and speed.
He hit over 20 home runs four different times, and his career-high is 28.
He played the bulk of his prime in the eighties and early nineties, where home runs weren’t really the rule or the standard.
Henderson accumulated 106.3 Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, which is among the best outputs in history.
In his MVP year, in 1990, he slashed .325/.439/.577 with 28 homers and 65 stolen bases.
He surpassed the 10-WAR threshold that year, with 10.2.
On this day in baseball history, the legendary Rickey Henderson made his big league debut! 🍻
24 seasons later, Rickey left the game with nearly 300 homers, over 3,000 hits, and quite a few records including his unbreakable stolen base record. 🔥#SWIGfortheFences #TBT pic.twitter.com/AzcSDPknlY
— Dugout Mugs®⚾🍻 (@DugoutMugs) June 24, 2021
Henderson was really one of a kind, and he really honored his nickname: The Man of Steal.