May 1 in Baseball History: Rickey Henderson and Nolan Ryan set career milestones on the same day

On May 1, 1991 Rickey Henderson stole third base in the fourth inning of a game vs. the New York Yankees. It was the 939th stolen base of his career, giving him one more than Lou Brock. One year later to the day, May 1, 1992, Henderson swiped stolen base #1,000 vs. the Detroit Tigers. Henderson set the career mark for stolen bases in the 15th year of his career, but he went on to play a total of 25 years and stole an incredible 1,406 bases before retiring at 44 years old. The two active players nearest Henderson on the all time stolen base list are Jose Reyes with 514 at 35 years old and Ichiro with 509 swipes at 44 years old. It seems safe to say that Henderson’s record will stand forever.

 

Perhaps Henderson was inspired to keep playing the game by Nolan Ryan, who later the same day, at 44 years of age, became the oldest pitcher to throw a no-hitter, the 7th of his career leading the Texas Rangers over the Toronto Blue Jays. Only 5 pitchers have thrown more than 1 no hitter in a career. The next in line to Ryan is Sandy Koufax with 4 no-no’s. Since no active pitcher has more than one no-hitter to his credit, it is hard to believe that Ryan’s record of 7 could ever be broken. However, his career strikeout record is another matter.

Ryan recorded 16 strikeouts in his 7th no-no, marking the 209th time he struck out at least 10 batters in a game and the 26th time he struck out at least 15. Ryan continued to pitch until he was 46 years of age.  During his long career Ryan struck out 5,714 batters in 5,386 innings – 1.06 strikeouts per inning. The nearest active pitcher on the career strike out list is 37-year-old C.C. Sabathia with 2,862 so he is already halfway to breaking Ryan’s record. At his current pace, Sabathia would be only 55 years old when he surpasses Ryan.

Source: https://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/May_1

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Hall of Fame Membership and Career Strikeout Rate Below 10%

Suffering through the post-season with little to do but monitor the Hot Stove League developments and the Hall of Fame ballot debates, I find myself thankful for Baseball Reference and its treasure of information. While perusing the Hall of Fame Batting Statistics, I was not surprised to see that Reggie Jackson leads all members with 2,597 strikeouts, but I was a little surprised to notice that Jackson recorded 13 more strikeouts in his career than he did hits: 2,584. This naturally led me to wonder which Hall of Famers had the lowest career strikeout rates.

After downloading the stats and adding a strikeout percentage per plate appearances column to the spreadsheet, I realized that I needed to limit the query to only those batters with at least 6,000 career plate appearances in order to omit the many pitchers who played in the pre-DH era. I also chose to limit the query to those players whose careers lasted until at least 1970 in order to focus on just those batters who have had to do battle against the modern science and strategies of major league pitching.

The following list of 49 Hall of Fame members is ranked from lowest to highest strikeout rate per plate appearances:

Rank Name PA SO SO %
1 Tony Gwynn 10232 434 4.24%
2 Ozzie Smith 10778 589 5.46%
3 Luis Aparicio 11230 742 6.61%
4 Wade Boggs 10740 745 6.94%
5 George Brett 11625 908 7.81%
6 Brooks Robinson 11782 990 8.40%
7 Bill Mazeroski 8379 706 8.43%
8 Al Kaline 11596 1020 8.80%
9 Joe Morgan 11329 1015 8.96%
10 Barry Larkin 9057 817 9.02%
11 Tim Raines 10359 966 9.33%
12 Rod Carew 10550 1028 9.74%
13 Hank Aaron 13941 1383 9.92%
14 Billy Williams 10519 1046 9.94%
15 Carl Yastrzemski 13992 1393 9.96%
16 Cal Ripken, Jr. 12883 1305 10.13%
17 Paul Molitor 12167 1244 10.22%
18 Roberto Alomar 10400 1140 10.96%
19 Robin Yount 12249 1350 11.02%
20 Gary Carter 9019 997 11.05%
21 Eddie Murray 12817 1516 11.83%
22 Ernie Banks 10394 1236 11.89%
23 Roberto Clemente 10211 1230 12.05%
24 Willie Mays 12496 1526 12.21%
25 Kirby Puckett 7831 965 12.32%
26 Joe Torre 8802 1094 12.43%
27 Rickey Henderson 13346 1694 12.69%
28 Frank Robinson 11742 1532 13.05%
29 Orlando Cepeda 8698 1169 13.44%
30 Ryne Sandberg 9282 1260 13.57%
31 Dave Winfield 12358 1686 13.64%
32 Frank Thomas 10075 1397 13.87%
33 Andre Dawson 10769 1509 14.01%
34 Craig Biggio 12504 1753 14.02%
35 Carlton Fisk 9853 1386 14.07%
36 Ron Santo 9397 1343 14.29%
37 Ivan Rodriguez 10270 1474 14.35%
38 Mike Piazza 7745 1113 14.37%
39 Johnny Bench 8674 1278 14.73%
40 Lou Brock 11240 1730 15.39%
41 Jim Rice 9058 1423 15.71%
42 Ken Griffey, Jr. 11304 1779 15.74%
43 Willie McCovey 9692 1550 15.99%
44 Jeff Bagwell 9431 1558 16.52%
45 Tony Perez 10861 1867 17.19%
46 Harmon Killebrew 9833 1699 17.28%
47 Mike Schmidt 10062 1883 18.71%
48 Willie Stargell 9027 1936 21.45%
49 Reggie Jackson 11418 2597 22.74%

The list of batters on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot ranked in the same way:

Rank Name PA SO SO %
1 Omar Vizquel 12013 1087 9.05%
2 Gary Sheffield 10947 1171 10.70%
3 Vladimir Guerrero 9059 985 10.87%
4 Johnny Damon 10917 1257 11.51%
5 Barry Bonds 12606 1539 12.21%
6 Chipper Jones 10614 1409 13.27%
7 Edgar Martinez 8674 1202 13.86%
8 Larry Walker 8030 1231 15.33%
9 Jeff Kent 9537 1522 15.96%
10 Scott Rolen 8518 1410 16.55%
11 Fred McGriff 10174 1882 18.50%
12 Manny Ramirez 9774 1813 18.55%
13 Andruw Jones 8664 1748 20.18%
14 Sammy Sosa 9896 2306 23.30%
15 Jim Thome 10313 2548 24.71%

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Rickey Henderson, Hall of Fame & MVP

Rickey Henderson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009 following a 25 year career. He was voted American League MVP in 1990, received the Silver Slugger award 3 times, and a Gold Glove. He played in 2 World Series and 10 All-Star games. He holds the MLB record with 1,406 stolen bases. He is a member of the 3,000 hit club with 3,055 and has a career WAR rating of 110.8 It is puzzling that Henderson did not receive any votes for Rookie of the Year in 1979. John Castino of the Minnesota Twins and Alfredo Griffin of the Toronto Blue Jays shared that award.

Henderson’s 1990 MVP Season consisted of leading the majors with an On Base Percentage of .439, 21 points better than Lenny Dykstra, and in On-Base Plus Slugging with a phenomenal 1.016, 46 points better than Barry Bonds. He finished second in the majors to Cecil Fielder with a Slugging Percentage of .577, and second to Vince Coleman with 65 Stolen Bases. He was second in AL Batting Average behind George Brett by just 4 points at .325.

According to Baseball Reference, Rickey Henderson finished his career with a WAR rating of 110.8.

Here are some of the Rickey Henderson cards that I currently have in inventory. Send an email message to BigBubbo@yahoo.com about any cards you wish to purchase or talk trade. I personally collect Bob Gibson, Roberto Clemente, Tom Seaver, St. Louis Cardinals – especially from the 60’s, 1969 and 1986 New York Mets, and 1985 Kansas City Royals.

Related pages:

Rickey Henderson 14_NEWRickey Henderson 13_NEWRickey Henderson 13_0005_NEWRickey Henderson 13_0004_NEWRickey Henderson 13_0003_NEWRickey Henderson 13_0002_NEWRickey Henderson 13_0001_NEWRickey Henderson 12_NEWRickey Henderson 12_0005_NEWRickey Henderson 12_0004_NEWRickey Henderson 12_0003_NEWRickey Henderson 12_0002_NEWRickey Henderson 12_0001_NEWRickey Henderson 11_NEWRickey Henderson 11_0005_NEWRickey Henderson 11_0004_NEWRickey Henderson 11_0003_NEWRickey Henderson 11_0002_NEWRickey Henderson 11_0001_NEWRickey Henderson 10_NEWRickey Henderson 10_0005_NEWRickey Henderson 10_0004_NEWRickey Henderson 10_0003_NEWRickey Henderson 10_0002_NEWRickey Henderson 10_0001_NEW

Dream Team – Score 1991

rickeyhenderson_dream team

Stolen Base Leaders – Upper Deck 1991 – Rickey and Lou Brock

henderson and brock

Topps Bazooka 1990

henderson bazooka

Topps 1992 Record Breaker – I have one card in gold.

henderson record breaker topps

Topps 1987

henderson topps 87

 

Topps 1988

henderson topps 88

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