10th anniversary: Rickey’s 3,000th

Ten years ago today, the greatest Rickey of them all, Rickey Henderson, added to his legend by getting his 3,000th hit. He did it in his final plate appearance of the season, which was mighty appropriate given that he previously got his 2,000th hit in his last at bat of the 1992 season. Nice symmetry there.

On Oct. 7, 2001, Rickey Henderson belted a lead-off double in the bottom of the first against Colorado’s John Thomson. He went on to score later in the inning, one of his all-time record 2,295 runs scored in his career. Immediately after that, the Padres pulled Henderson from the game, giving him a reward for his milestone blast.

While Thomson gave up the big blast, he wasn’t Henderson’s favorite victim. Jimmy Key holds that distinction, having surrendered 38 Henderson hits. Thomson allowed five hits in 14 at-bats.

The best Henderson-stopper was Darrell Jackson, who held Henderson hitless in 13 at-bats, albeit with one walk. Russ Ortiz faced Henderson the most times without ever letting him on base—eight times in all.

Some players earn their plaque in the Hall of Fame by getting hit number 3,000. Not Rickey. He belongs to the upper echelon of the club—he would’ve made it into Cooperstown easily even if he hadn’t made 3,000 hits. His ability to steal bases firmly cemented his image in the public mind.

More than that, he was a master of getting on base in the first place. Only four men ever drew 2,000 bases on balls in their career—Henderson, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams. Henderson is the only one with over 3,000 hits. Heck, of the 17 members of the 1,500-walk club, Henderson is one of only four with 3,000 hits. It’s him, Carl Yastremzki, Pete Rose and Stan Musial. Nearly twice as many 3,000-hit guys have fewer than 1,000 walks (seven did that in all

When walks and hits and hits are combined, Henderson is one of only seven men to reach base more than 5,000 times. He had the fourth best OBP of that gang of seven; better than Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, or Yaz, but worse than Barry Bonds, Stan Musial and Ty Cobb. Any way you slice it, that’s nice company to keep.

Aside from Henderson’s milestone, many other events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is an event occurring X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you just want to skim.


2,000 days since Albert Pujols sets a personal best with a one-game WPA of 0.987. He goes 3-for-4 with three homers, four runs, five RBI and a walk as St. Louis beats the Cubs, 8-7. One of Pujols’ homers is a walk-off blast.

3,000 days since Rich Harden makes his big league debut.

7,000 days since Jack Clark signs for bankruptcy, listing over $11 million in debts versus under $5 million in assets. Among other things, he owns 18 automobiles.

7,000 days since the Giants announce their team has been sold to a group of investors from Tampa for $110 million and they’ll move to St. Petersburg next year (1993). This will be blocked before it happens, though.

10,000 days since St. Louis retires Ken Boyer’s number.

10,000 days since Roger Clemens picks up his first win..

15,000 days since Tom Paciorek makes his big league debut.

25,000 days since the A’s beat the Senators 2-1 in 16 innings, with all runs scoring in the 16th. Early Wynn goes 13 innings for Washington and has a Game Score of 98, while Jesse Flores lasts 15.2 innings and has a Game Score of 100.

25,000 days since the Braves trade Ernie Lombardi to the Giants.

30,000 days since Ted Lyons wins his 100th game, for a 100-82 career record.

30,000 days since Hank Gowdy, playing in his first big league game in four years, goes 4-for-4 leading his Boston Braves teammates to a 10-9 win over the Reds.


1867 Brickyard Kennedy, good pitcher from the 1890s, is born.

1882 Dupee Shaw throws a five-inning shortened-game no-hitter. Providence 5, Buffalo 0.

1887 Jim McCormick, winner of well over 200 games, appears in his last big league contest.

1888 The Brooklyn Dodgers’ all-time franchise record hits .500 (310-310). It’ll be over .500 for the next 21 years.

1892 Hall of Famer Tommy McCarthy hits two inside the park home runs in one game off ace pitcher Silver King.

1904 Chuck Klein, Hall of Famer, is born.

1905 Jesse Burkett, Hall of Fame outfielder, plays in his final contest.

1911 Veteran first baseman Fred Tenney appears in his last game.

1914 Clark Griffith, 200-game winner, appears in his last game.

1916 In Game One of the World Series, the Red Sox hold off a furious Dodgers rally for a 6-5 win. It was 6-1 entering the ninth inning.

1917 In Game Two of the World Series, White Sox pitcher Red Faber pulls off a doozy of a metal error. After doubling, he tries to steal third—forgetting that it’s occupied by teammate Buck Weaver. Oops.

1919 The Black Sox don’t get another $20,000 promised them by Boston gambler Sport Sullivan. Sullivan doesn’t even show up to see them, let along give them any cash.

1919 The Black Sox, down four games to one in the best-of-nine World Series, win Game Five 5-4 in 10 innings over the Reds. Dickie Kerr wins in his second start.

1920 Game Three of the World Series is a real pitchers duel, with the Dodgers and Indians combining for nine hits. Brooklyn gets six of the hits for a 2-1 win.

1923 Both Frank Chance and Pat Moran manage their last game.

1925 Christy Mathewson dies.

1926 The Yankees tie the Cardinals 2-2 in the top of the ninth inning and win it in 10, 3-2, in Game Five of the World Series.

1927 Yankees starter Herb Pennock takes a perfect game into the eighth inning of Game Three of the World Series before a one-out single by Pie Traynor ruins it. The Yankees beat the Pirates, 8-1.

1933 The Giants are world champions after beating the Senators 5-4 in 10 innings of Game Five of the World Series. The Series ends on consecutive extra-inning contests.

1935 The Tigers are world champions after defeating the Cubs 4-3 in Game Six. Detroit wins it on a walk-off hit by Goose Goslin in the bottom of the ninth to end what was in general a highly competitive World Series. Of all the Series the Cubs have lost since their last victory in 1908, this is probably the most available for the taking. The Cubs were in a lot of the games and they probably had the better team that year.

1936 The Brooklyn Dodgers fire their manager, Casey Stengel.

1937 The Cardinals release Jesse Haines.

1943 Jose Cardenal is born.

1943 The Yankees score five runs in the bottom of the eighth for a 6-2 victory over the Cardinals in Game Three of the World Series. The Cardinals make four errors in the game.

1946 Cardinals ace Harry Brecheen pitches a four-hit complete game shutout in a 3-0 win over the Red Sox in Game Two of the World Series.

1947 Dan Topping and Del Webb announce they’ve purchased Larry McPhail’s third of the ownership share of the Yankees for $2 million. This is the end of Larry McPhail in big league ball.

1949 The Yankees top the Dodgers 4-3 in Game Three of the World Series. It’s 1-1 after eight innings (giving the Series a total four runs scored in its first 26 innings). The Yankees then get three in the top of the ninth, and hold the Dodgers to a pair of solo home runs in the bottom of the ninth.

1957 Baltimore releases pitcher Dizzy Trout.

1957 Lew Burdette starts to transform from man to legend, topping the Yankees with a complete-game shutout for a 1-0 Braves win in Game Five. He’ll do it again in Game Seven.

1968 With the Cardinals leading the Tigers three games to one, the World Series turns in Game Five as the Tigers win, 5-3. With St. Louis up 3-2, Lou Brock doesn’t slide at the plate and home plate umpire Doug Harvey calls him out, which serves as the turning point. All these years later, Brock still thinks he’s safe and Harvey still stands by his call.

1969 St. Louis trades Curt Flood, Tim McCarver and two others to the Phillies for Dick Allen, Cookie Rojas and one other. Flood will protest this trade, and the entire reserve clause system.

1972 The A’s top the Tigers 3-2 in 11 innings in Game One of the ALCS. It’s 1-1 going into the 11th inning. First Detroit scores once in the top of the frame, and then the Mustache Gang scores twice for the win.

1973 Jon Matlack allows just two hits in a complete game shutout for a 5-0 Mets win over the Reds in Game Two in NLCS. It’s closer than the score, as New York scores four time in the top of the ninth.

1977 There’s a controversial call when L.A. tops Philadelphia 6-5 in Game Three in the NLCS. The umps call Steve Garvey safe at the plate when he wasn’t.

1978 In Game Four of the ALCS, the Yankees get only four hits against Kansas City, but two are home runs for a 2-1 win.

1978 The Dodgers win the NL pennant by topping the Phillies 4-3 in 10 innings in Game Four in the NLCS.

1981 The Astros top the Dodgers 1-0 in 11 innings in Game Two of the NLDS.

1983 The Braves release Phil Niekro.

1984 Baseball umpires end their one-week strike and work the last game of the NLCS.

1984 The Cubs do what they do best—don’t win the pennant. In Game Five of the NLCS, the Padres top them, in part due to a key error by Leon Durham. San Diego 6, Chicago 3

1985 Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria is born.

1987 Dave Dravecky throws a two-hit shutout for a 5-0 Giants win over St. Louis in Game Two of the NLCS.

1988 The Reds release Dave Concepcion, ending his career.

1989 The Giants top the Cubs in Game Three of the NLCS, 5-4, thanks two a pair of runs scored in the bottom of the seventh inning.

1991 Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher dies.

1992 Oakland tops Toronto 4-3 in Game One of the ALCS. Toronto ties it 3-3 with a run in the bottom of the ninth but Oakland comes back with one in the top of the ninth.

1995 The Yankees, up two-games-to-one in the best-of-five ALDS over Seattle, take an early 5-0 lead, only to see Seattle roar back for a 6-5 edge. New York ties it 6-6 but Seattle blows the game open with five runs in the bottom of the eighth for an 11-8 win, forcing a Game Five. Edgar Martinez is the star, driving in seven runs.

1998 The Indians beat the Yankees 4-1 in 12 innings in Game Two of the ALDS. The winning run scores when Yankees infielder Chuck Knoblauch argues for an interference call—and forgets to pick up the ball, letting the Indian run score.

1998 In Game One of the NLDS, the Padres hold off the Braves for a 3-2 win in 10 innings. Atlanta ties it with a run in the bottom of the ninth, but then San Diego wins it in extra innings.

1998 Tampa Bay takes Cory Lidle from Arizona off waivers.

2000 The Mets top the Giants 3-2 in a 13-inning Game Three of the NLDS.

2001 On the last day of the season, the following people play in their last regular season game: Bobby Witt, Eric Davis, Jay Buhner, Ken Caminiti, Mark Gardner, Mark McGwire, Norm Charlton, Paul O’Neill, Tony Fernandez, Bobby Bonilla and Tony Gwynn. In the managerial ranks, this is the final game for Tom Kelly.

2003 The Marlins top the Cubs 9-8 in Game One of the NLCS. It’s a wild game, with the Cubs scoring four in the bottom of the first but Florida coming back. Both teams score twice in the ninth inning before Florida wins it in 11 innings.

2004 Atlanta tops Houston 4-2 in 11 innings in Game Two of the NLDS. The Astros push a pair of runs across the plate early on, but Atlanta comes back with one in the bottom of the seventh, another in the eighth and then two in the 11th.

2005 Orlando Hernandez rides to the rescue for the White Sox in Game Three of the ALDS. When the Red Sox have the bases loaded and none out in the bottom of the sixth, he appears in relief and gets Chicago out of the jam with a foul pop up to the first baseman, a routine pop up to the shortstop, and a seven-pitch strike out. Chicago closes out the sweep, winning 5-3 over the defending world champs.

2010 Tim Lincecum posts a Game Score of 96 with his 14-strikeout two-hit complete game shutout victory over Atlanta. San Francisco wins Game One of the NLDS, 1-0.

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Geoff Young
10 years ago

Fun stuff, Chris, although “belted” and “blast” are a stretch as descriptors for one of the weakest bloop doubles you will ever see. Rickey hit that thing with a nine iron.

Chris J.
10 years ago

Geoff.  Thanks for the info.  Didn’t know that.  Also wish I’d realized that Henderson’s big hit came in Tony Gwynn’s last game when I wrote it.

Bob Evans
10 years ago

That El Duque moment was the most exhilarating of my baseball-following life.  Until then, I was waiting for them to lose; after that, I thought, “Why not?”