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What Is RICKEY HENDERSON Doing in NEWARK?
Tom Verducci
June 23, 2003
The greatest leadoff hitter of all time is beating the bushes, trying to get back to the majors—and still leaving 'em laughing at every stop
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June 23, 2003

What Is Rickey Henderson Doing In Newark?

The greatest leadoff hitter of all time is beating the bushes, trying to get back to the majors—and still leaving 'em laughing at every stop

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Once in the late 1980s, the New York Yankees sent Henderson a six-figure signing-bonus check. After a few months passed, an internal audit revealed that the check had not been cashed. Brian Cash-man, then a low-level executive with the club, called Henderson to ask if there was a problem with the check.

"No problem," Henderson said. "I'm just waiting for the money-market rates to go up."

And speaking of money....

Over 24 seasons in the major leagues, Henderson never spent his meal money. Before each trip players get an envelope filled with cash equal to the daily rate as negotiated by the players' association ($73 this year), multiplied by the number of days on the road. Henderson would take the envelopes home and put them in shoe boxes. Whenever one of his three daughters did well in school, Henderson would allow them to choose an envelope from a shoe box, a little game he called Pick It. The jackpot was getting an envelope from one of those 13-day, four-city trips. The girls would keep the money.

"They do what they want with it," he said. "It gives them motivation for their school and something to do, like a job."

Rickey's Best Lines about Money

1. "If they're going to pay me like [Mike] Gallego, I'm going to play like Gallego."

2. "All I'm asking for is what I want."

On the subject of contracts....

Henderson signed a minor league deal last year with the Boston Red Sox that included an invitation to spring training and a $350,000 salary if he made the team. After he played his way onto the Boston roster with an impressive spring, Henderson groused that the Red Sox were underpaying him.

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