Jim Rice andRickey Henderson INDUCTEES
The slugger and the speedster spoke to me last week, just before they wereenshrined in the Hall of Fame on Sunday in Cooperstown
Dan Patrick: Whatpiece of memorabilia interested you the most on past trips to the Hall ofFame?
Jim Rice: Theequipment they used to play with. You look at the spikes, the gloves and howsmall they were. You had to have good hands. And playing all day in the sun ina wool uniform, that was pretty tough.
August 2, 2009
DP: How would youhave handled balls hit off the Green Monster with one of those gloves?
JR: Most of thetime you barehand the ball anyway.
DP: You wereoffered a football scholarship by Nebraska. Do you ever think about how yourlife would have been different if you had gone to college?
JR: I neverthought about that. I played football, baseball and basketball in high school.It would have been tough to go to college and only play one sport.
DP: Were you aRonnie Lott type, a hard hitter?
JR: No, I loved tocatch the ball.
DP: Is this JimRice or Jerry Rice?
JR: I had prettygood hands. I went both ways.
DP: Which pitchersput you on edge?
JR: Nolan Ryan, ata 5:00 game in Anaheim, when the sun was coming right out of the Big A.
DP: Were therepitches you didn't even see?
JR: I was alwayslooking breaking ball because if he throws a fastball, you're not going to hitit. You can't hit lightning. Lightning hits you.
DP: How difficultwas the transition to the broadcast booth?
JR: The onlytransition is you've got to watch what you say. Clubhouse talk—you can't getaway with that.
Dan Patrick: If Igave you a month to get ready, could you give me 50 good at bats for a teamdown the stretch?
DP: Yourevolutionized the role of the leadoff man by hitting for power. At what pointdid you say, I want to make that leadoff position different?
RH: The power cameafter I stole 130 bases [in 1982] and went to arbitration, and they said thatthe only guy who earned the [big] salary was a guy that hit home runs. That'swhen I decided I had to elevate my game and do something different. I decidedto develop the physique. Hitting home runs came from practicing how to get theball to carry. I talked to Willie Horton when he was a coach with the Yankees,and he said I had a lot of power but I didn't get the backspin on the ball. Sowe developed a flat [swing] with a chop to get the backspin.
DP: There's astory that when you were with the A's you didn't cash a million-dollar bonuscheck because you framed it.
RH: Yes, I did.That's a true story.
DP: And theneventually the team called?
RH: It was towardthe end of the season. I got the check in January, and when they made an issueabout the check it was December. They were trying to do their books and came upa little short and wondered where the check was.
DP: If they hadn'tcalled, would you have kept it framed?
RH: Probably. Itwasn't important that I had the money, it was just something that I hadachieved.
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Tony Dungydiscusses Michael Vick's potential reinstatement.
2. Keith Olbermanntalks about Bud Selig and Pete Rose.
Broadcaster HaroldReynolds told me a good Rickey story last week. In 1987, when Henderson misseda chunk of the season with an injury, Reynolds led the AL with 60 stolen basesfor the Mariners. After the season Reynolds got a call from Henderson: "Thephone rings. 'Henderson here.' I say, 'Hey, what's going on, Rickey?' I thinkhe's calling to congratulate me, but he goes, 'Sixty stolen bases? You ought tobe ashamed. Rickey would have 60 at the break.' And then click, he hungup."
Lines of theweek
Former majorleaguer, car wash magnate and publisher Lenny Dykstra gave a revealinginterview last week.
On his nocturnalhabits: "I only sleep twice a week."
On what he doesthe other five nights: "The market."
On what a plannedDykstra reality show will be about: "Reality."
On his ongoingdivorce proceedings: "They don't call me Nails for nothing. If I have tolive in the street, if I have to eat grass, I'll do whatever I have to do toget this thing over with."
On filing forChapter 11 bankruptcy: "Bottom line is, people pile on. That's why I did an11."
On why he'llovercome his troubles: "I've been ripping people's hearts out for 20years."
THE FINE PRINT:This just in: Nike has confiscated a peephole video of LeBron being dunked onby a hotel chambermaid.
Hear Dan announcethe week's Got It Done Award every Monday.