Although he started his career as an ace pitcher, Ruth is best known for crushing home runs like few ever have in baseball history. The Sultan of Swat is one of three Major Leaguers to hit 700 homers, and he was peerless in that regard for 39 years.
As for Henderson, his game was speed, and lots of it. The Man of Steal recorded more stolen bases (1,406) than any other big leaguer, and it’s not particularly close: Lou Brock is second with 938.
But Henderson has more in common with Ruth than you might think.
In 1930, Ruth passed Eddie Collins for the all-time walk record. When his career ended in 1935, Ruth had 2,062 walks. That mark held up for another six-plus decades, until April 25, 2001, when Henderson drew a base on balls for the Padres in the ninth inning against the Phillies’ Jose Mesa. It marked the 2,063rd walk of Henderson’s career, giving him more than the mighty Ruth.
Henderson recorded 80 or more walks in 19 different seasons, three more than anyone else. He added another 37 walks in 60 postseason games. It was Henderson who got the Blue Jays’ rally started in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series, working a walk against the Phillies’ Mitch Williams to lead off the ninth inning. Three batters later, Joe Carter hit his iconic, title-clinching home run.
Henderson would hold the walk record for only three years, until Barry Bonds passed him when he recorded his 2,191st career walk on July 4, 2004. Still, the fact that Henderson was in the same range as Ruth and Bonds…