One thing you should know about Rickey Henderson... is that if anyone tells you that Rickey is a selfish player, or that he's a "cancer in the clubhouse", or any of that nonsense... they don't know a thing about Rickey Henderson. Does Rickey have a high opinion of himself? Yes. Does he say goofy shit from time to time? Yes. But this is a guy who plays for $3,000 a month in the Atlantic League, picks up balls during BP, and gives all of the free equipment and apparel that he gets to his teammates. He is also one of the quirkiest and most quotable players since Yogi Berra...
Rickey... on referring to himself in the third person
"Listen: People are always saying, 'Rickey says Rickey.' But it's been blown way out of proportion. People might catch me, when they know I'm ticked off, saying, 'Rickey, what the heck are you doing, Rickey?' They say, 'Darn, Rickey, what are you saying Rickey for? Why don't you just say, 'I?' But I never did. I always said, 'Rickey,' and it become something for people to joke about."
Henderson once received a $1 million dollar signing bonus from the Oakland A's. When a few months later the accounting department found their balance sheets off by about, oh, a million dollars, they asked Rickey about it. He had framed the check and hung it on his wall without cashing it.
Rickey... to himself, after swinging and missing at a pitch
"That's not how Rickey swings."
Henderson boarded the team bus in San Diego and was scouting out a seat. Outfielder Steve Finley told him that he had tenure and could sit anywhere he wanted. "Ten years? What are you talking about? Rickey got 16, 17 years."
Rickey... to his bats
"Which one of you bad boys got some hits in you?"
Henderson once missed a game because of frostbite... in August. Rickey fell asleep with an ice pack on. Still, it's not quite as bad as Kevin Mitchell, who once injured himself while eating a cupcake.
Rickey... on contract negotiations
"All I'm asking for is what I want!"
In an early spring game in 2000, Henderson hit a long fly ball and broke into a home run trot. The ball bounced off the wall and Rickey was held to a single. When asked about it after the game, Rickey replied, "I hit it out, but it didn't go out."
Rickey... on the answering machine of Padres' GM Kevin Towers
"Dude! This is Rickey! Representin' Rickey! Dude, you need an outfielder! You need to sign me!"
The Padres held a 14-7 lead in a meaningless game against the Mets, and Rickey was sent up to pinch hit in the eighth inning. Henderson came to the plate, hit a two run home run, immediately disappeared into the clubhouse, changed, and left the stadium. The reason for his departure? "I had to get to this Chinese restaurant," he said. "They closed at midnight. Best Chinese food I've ever had." Rickey went to praise the fine sushi the restaurant served. It was a Japanese restaurant.
Rickey... on diet
"There's a way to eat. You can eat anything you want to eat. But you can never overstuff yourself. Well, that's the key to it all. If you eat a... grape, and you hadn't had nothin' all day, almost, and you ate a grape, and it busted in your stomach and you felt full, you shouldn't eat nothin' else until that grape wears off."
Rickey... on sharing his birthday with Christmas
"I used to get cheated. Now the rule is they got to bring me two presents. I don't care if it's the smallest thing in the world, you gotta get me two. My kids say, 'We don't know what to get you!' They say I already got everything. Naw, I don't care if you go out and get me bubble gum. But you gotta get me two bubble gums, you can't get just one. I been cheated too long!"
Henderson always checks into hotels under a pseudonym to avoid attracting attention. When the Padres needed to contact him, Towers and his aid took turns guessing Rickey's pseudonym. After several incorrect guesses, Towers finally got the name right. To avoid attracting attention, Rickey had checked into the hotel as Richard Pryor.
Rickey... on travel...
"How long will it take me to drive to the Dominican (Republic)?"
Henderson, who played with the Red Sox in 2002, called the team on a Thursday to ask if he could get tickets for Game Six of the 2004 World Series. When told there was no game, Rickey asked, "Why?". The Red Sox had completed a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals the night before Rickey's phone call.
Rickey... on how many times he'd slid headfirst in his career
"Oh, man, Rickey done dove headfirst a lot!"
And the final story, although probably the best, is also untrue...
Rickey Henderson signed with the Seattle Mariners in late May 2000. Shortly after joining the team, he approached John Olerud and asked him why he was wearing a batting helmet on the field. Olerud was a bit puzzled by the question, but told Rickey that he had a brain aneurysm when he was nine, and a sharply hit ball to the head could kill him without the helmet. "I used to play with a dude in New York who had the same problem," Rickey said. To which Olerud replied, "I know, Rickey. That was me."
Culled from various sources