By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer
May 8, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Roger Clemens' big announcement this week has Rickey
Henderson hoping some club might give him one more chance to make a major league
Otherwise, he will call it a career -- for good this time.
"Seeing Roger come back, all the seed that it plants is ask me to come back
one time," Henderson said Tuesday in the Mets clubhouse before New York played
the San Francisco Giants.
"I'm going to look at it at the end of the year. I might come out with some
crazy stuff, a press conference telling every club, 'Put me on the field with
your best player and see if I come out of it.' If I can't do it, I'll call it
quits at the end," he said.
On Sunday, the 44-year-old Clemens announced during the seventh inning of
the Mariners-Yankees game that he would once again put on pinstripes and return
to the Bronx to pitch this season.
"I see Roger can come back and play. I can come back and play," the
48-year-old Henderson said. "They say I've done too much. What'd he accomplish?
... The players they put on the field nowadays, they couldn't make it in my day.
They'd get sent back to Triple-A."
Henderson played in the independent Golden Baseball League two years ago,
trying to attract the attention of big league teams. He hasn't played in the
majors since appearing in 30 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003, his 25th
year at baseball's highest level.
Henderson, a special instructor for the Mets this season, is the career
leader in runs scored (2,295) and stolen bases (1,406) and is second behind
Barry Bonds in walks with 2,190. He also has 3,055 career hits, 297 home runs,
won the 1990 AL MVP award and made 10 All-Star games. He won an AL Gold Glove in
1981 as an outfielder with Oakland.
He caught a foul ball in the stands Monday night, saying: "Showing 'em I've
still got good hands. The ball found me. I was so quick."
Henderson is four months younger than Mets infielder Julio Franco.
"Julio's out there. I know I can play with Julio," Henderson said. "You
need to name a whole lot of players before you get to Julio. ... I just want a
spring training invite. Most clubs said if I got an invite, I'd probably make
their club, but (they) don't have a spot."
For now, Henderson is keeping busy and fit by maintaining the 455 acres he
owns near California's Yosemite National Park. He hasn't hit the gym for a
while, but he drives a tractor, rides horses and raises cows -- and insists he
will win a trophy in competitive fishing one day.
"I'm an old country boy. I don't look like it," he said.
But if he landed a deal like Clemens' one-year contract for $28,000,022,
Henderson said he could get himself back in baseball shape in a hurry. By June,
Henderson also is a realist.
"I'm through, really. I'm probably through with it now," he said. "It's
just one of those things. I thank the good Lord I played as long as I played and
came out of it healthy. I took a lot of pounding."
Henderson said the "bitter" thing about it is that he didn't get to leave
the sport on his own terms: finishing on the field.
If his playing career indeed is over, Henderson will stay involved in
baseball and even pull on a uniform from time to time to help out. He enjoys
coaching players in the fundamentals of leading off and baserunning.
"I always want to be around the game," he said. "That's something that's
in my blood. Helping them have success feels just as good."
Updated on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 9:42 pm EDT
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