Hall of Fame: Henderson was a sure pick

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Associated Press
NEW YORK ó Rickey Henderson dashed into the Hall of Fame on his first try, Jim Rice made it with a final swing.
It’s hard to imagine their induction speeches will have much in common, either.
“I’m going to leave all the stories to Rickey,” Rice said, confirming that his remarks in Cooperstown this summer are likely to match his personality. “Believe me, it’s going to be short and quick. I don’t think you need to go there and talk for 15 or 20 minutes when you can get right to the point.”
That never stopped Henderson ó but neither did opposing pitchers or catchers during his 25-year career.
The undisputed standard for leadoff hitters, Henderson received 94.8 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in balloting announced Monday, well above the 75 percent needed.
Rice, among the game’s most feared sluggers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, got 76.4 percent in his 15th and final year on the ballot after falling just shy with 72.2 percent last year.
“The only thing I can say is I’m glad it’s over with,” the Boston outfielder said. “I’m in there and they can’t take it away.”
Henderson, baseball’s career leader in runs scored and stolen bases, became the 44th player elected in his first year of eligibility. Rice was only the third elected by the BBWAA in his final year, joining Red Ruffing (1967) and Ralph Kiner (1975).
The pair will be inducted into the Hall during ceremonies on July 26 in Cooperstown, N.Y. They’ll be joined by former Yankees and Indians second baseman Joe Gordon, elected posthumously last month by the Veterans Committee.
“I feel great about it. It’s been a long time coming,” Henderson said. “I was nervous, waiting.”