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baseball

The man of steal

Base­ball great Rick­ey Hen­der­son recent­ly gave the Hall of Fame induc­tion speech to end all induc­tion speech­es. He was a larg­er-than-life fig­ure in my child­hood, and he had a per­son­al­i­ty to match, often refer­ring to him­self in the third per­son. For exam­ple, "There are pieces of this puz­zle that Rick­ey is still work­ing out," in a dis­cus­sion of age and base­ball in an excel­lent New York­er pro­file. There was no third-per­son in the speech, but there was plen­ty of Rick­ey being Rick­ey:

As a kid grow­ing up in Oak­land, my heroes were Jack­ie Robin­son, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Reg­gie Jack­son. What about that Reg­gie Jack­son? I stand out­side the ball­park in the park­ing lot, wait­ing for Reg­gie Jack­son to give me an auto­graph … I said, 'Reg­gie, can I have an auto­graph.' He would pass me a pen, with his name on it.

The best part is that Jack­son is sit­ting behind him, crack­ing up, along with Robin Yount and var­i­ous oth­er liv­ing leg­ends. You can watch the whole thing, in three parts, on YouTube: Part 1 has some awe­some com­men­tary by Tony Gwynn and Torii Hunter; Part 2 is the begin­ning of Rickey's speech; Part 3 is the con­clu­sion.