Unlike Rickey, this page is a work in progress. It will always be a work in progress, because every day new evidence that Rickey Henderson is the Greatest of All Time finds and blesses us. If the evidence came any faster, Rickey would challenge it to a race and win. In fact, there is a law clarifying the relationship between Rickey and news of Rickey’s greatness.
Rickey Henderson’s Law of Rickey-Related Information
While scholars agree that the Rickey’s Law is mathematically unassailable, there are two differing and opposing interpretations of its real-world application. The first camp, led by Dr. Martin Van Nostrand of New York University, adheres strictly to the letter of the law. These academics merely contend that any piece of Rickey-related information must necessarily reach its intended audience slower than Rickey would reach said audience himself. Take this very paragraph as an example: the law states that Rickey himself could have run to your location and read it aloud to you in less time than it would take you to read it in your head. Some radical members of this faction (who are actually, as we’ll see, moderates compared to others) argue that Rickey, if he so wished, could have read this paragraph to me before I even finished writing it.
In the mid-2000s, after Rickey’s retirement from the majors, another interpretation of the law gained favor. Professor Wernstrom, researching at Rickey’s hometown University of Chicago at the time, postulated that Rickey’s Law was not just hypothetical. Wernstrom argued, rather persuasively, that Rickey not only could outpace any Rickey-centric information, but that he actually did it, every time a piece of Rickey-centric information was shared. Let’s return to the example of the previous paragraph. In Wernstrom’s model, Rickey located and approached you. Rickey told you everything in that paragraph. And Rickey did all of that so fast that, A) you did not notice, B) you mistook the process for typical boring reading and, C) he’s there with you right now oh damn you missed him! Don’t worry, I did too.
The ramifications of Wernstrom’s corollary are difficult to fathom. If she is correct, everything that was ever said about Rickey from one person or group to another was actually said by Rickey without anybody noticing. To this day, her supporters struggle to find a way to test her theory, but Wernstrom is adamant. In a recent interview with Oprah, Wernstrom said:
You know, I wouldn’t stick by it with so much conviction and so much passion if I didn’t experience it myself. My boyfriend at the time was telling me about his favorite player. I don’t even like baseball, but I listened anyway. And in the middle of what he’s saying, I see for less than half a second a man running through my boyfriend’s living room. I mean, he was there, I blinked, he’s gone. I knew he was running, but the picture I have in my mind is almost like frozen in time, like when a high-speed camera captures a bullet passing through a block of wood. Take just one of the frames of a video like that, and that’s like what I saw. I asked my boyfriend to Google a picture of the player he was talking about, and sure enough, it was the same man I saw in the room a few seconds earlier. So no, I’m not discouraged by the backlash in the scientific community. But I know that the cameras needed to capture Rickey when he’s traveling faster than the speed of light probably won’t be invented for thousands of years. And at that point Rickey might be dead.
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FEB. 4, 2014– A lucky photographer captured Rickey at the Claremont DMV this morning. By the time this amateur paparazzo looked down at his camera to view his shot, Rickey had already exited the building, started his newly-registered car and pulled out of the parking lot. But you already knew that.
A quick glance at secret DMV records, however, clarifies this picture. According to the customer log, the matter of Rickey’s vehicle registration was opened and closed within milliseconds. The entire process was so brief the DMV database broke, unable to process anything that fast. Magnanimously, Rickey updated the system and rebooted the servers before leaving. Don’t worry, he said, this happens everywhere Rickey goes. Next time, y’all will be ready for Rickey.
No one in Rickey’s line had any idea Rickey was cutting them.
In the shot above, Rickey’s hand is blurry. Even with state-of-the-art lenses and once-in-a-lifetime luck, Rickey always gonna be blurry.
The only reason Rickey needs a motor vehicle is to stay under the speed limit.
A recent article on Oakland A’s prospect Jeremy Barfield begins with the line, “Jeremy Barfield is the son Rickey Henderson never had.” I would ask how we can be so sure, but Barfield is 25, and currently transitioning from the outfield to pitcher–the A’s are wont to do this with struggling prospects. Rickey made his MLB debut by 20, and played wherever he damn pleased.