Sitting in the Oakland Athletics' dugout, having already tied Lou Brock's record for career stolen bases, Rickey Henderson's thoughts drifted to his next victim.
Tonight, the A's are off . . . Tuesday night? Hmmm, the New York Yankees come in. . . . The New York Yankees.Henderson called this kind of scheduling the stuff his dreams have been made of.
"I thought about that after (manager) Tony (La Russa) took me out of the game," Henderson said Sunday after tying Brock's record with his 938th career steal in Oakland's 7-3 victory over the California Angels. "The thought of getting the steal against New York is a dream to me."
Henderson played for the Yankees from 1985-89. The Yankees are the only team besides the A's for whom he has played during his 111/2 seasons in the majors. Henderson is the career stolen-base leader for both teams.
"I think deep down in my heart, (owner) George (Steinbrenner) deserves something, so it will be nice to steal the base against his team," Henderson said with a smile.
Playing Sunday in his second game after missing 14 with a strained muscle in his left calf, Henderson went 2-for-3 with singles in the first and third innings. He was hit in the back by a pitch from Jeff Robinson in the sixth.
"I was a little frustrated because I got hit," Henderson said. "Tony wanted to take me out of the ballgame and have Willie Wilson run.
"But I thought that was the time I should at least try for the record. There was a right-handed pitcher in there. I read right-handers better than left-handers. Besides, I got hit and I felt it's payback time when I get to first."
Henderson broke for second on a 1-2 pitch and was safe with his trademark head-first slide, beating catcher Lance Parrish's high throw.
The record-tying steal came after Parrish called for a forkball.
"It was down, but I thought I got off a good, accurate throw," Parrish said. ". . . I was anticipating him going on every pitch, but I wasn't going to alter the way I called the game."
After the record-tying steal, Henderson picked the base up and held it over his head in triumph. After the base was removed, Henderson repeatedly thrust his fists and waved to the crowd, which responded with a standing ovation.
"That was a spur-of-the-moment thing," Henderson said. "The thrill, the happiness inside me. The way the crowd reacted was a joy. They were pulling for me."
Brock, who watched the game from a box seat behind the A's dugout, said: "I was more emotional about him breaking my single-season record (in 1982). What he did there was done in a specific period of time. . . . When he gets No. 939 he will have only himself to run against.
"He will have to push himself to keep going."
Brock was making his second trip to Oakland already this season to witness Henderson trying for his record.
Henderson, removed for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, ended four games of frustration by tying Brock.
All-time stolen base leaders
Through April 28, 1991
Lou Brock 938
Rickey Henderson* 938
Ty Cobb 892
Eddie Collins 743
Max Carey 738
Honus Wagner 722
Joe Morgan 689
Bert Campaneri 649
Tim Raines * 637
Willie Wilson* 615
Vince Coleman* 560
Davey Lopes 557