NEW YORK // Rickey Henderson, baseball's greatest thief, and slugger Jim Rice were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. While Henderson enters the hall in his first year of eligibility, Rice waited 15-years before securing his place in Cooperstown on his last appearance on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot. "I love the game of baseball," Henderson said on Major League Baseball's website. "That's why it was so hard to leave."
"My journey as a player is complete. "I am now in the class of the greatest players of all time and at this moment, I am very, very humbled." Henderson, who holds the record for most stolen bases (1,406) and runs scored (2,295) tormented opposing pitchers and catchers for 25 seasons with his sprinter's speed and slugger's power. The prototype lead-off hitter, Henderson posted a career batting average of .279 with 3,055 hits and 297 homers, winning two World Series with the 1989 Oakland Athletics and 1993 Toronto Blue Jays.
A 10 time all-star and 1990 American League most valuable player, Henderson also had stints with the New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Anaheim Angels, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1980, he became the first AL player to steal 100 or more bases in a single season and 14 years later notched stolen base number 1,066 breaking Yutaka Fukumoto's world record.
Unlike the well-travelled Henderson, Rice spent his entire career in a Boston Red Sox uniform. The eight-time all-star pounded out 2,452 hits and 382 home runs over 16 seasons capturing AL MVP honours in 1978. "It's like being welcomed at home plate after hitting a walk-off home run," said Rice. "I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be than right here, right now." *Reuters