“Once when I was five.” – Jane’s Addiction
Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell was apparently caught stealing once when he was five. Big. Deal. There was a man who was a master when it came to getting caught. In fact, he was caught stealing 334 more times than Farrell! His name is Rickey Henderson.
“People say I stole a lot of bases. I stole bases for a reason. I crossed the plate.” – Rickey Henderson
I was a big fan of those late 80’s/early 90’s Oakland A’s teams and I loved watching the all-time king of thefts swipe bags and hit bombs. But I am ashamed to admit that I traded Rickey Henderson. Twice. It was early 1984, and judging by the photo above, Jane’s Addiction is disgusted with what I did too. Obviously, I didn’t trade Rickey literally, but in the world of sports card trading instead. I was 12 and we were still a few years away from “The Bash Brothers” (unless you consider Dave Kingman and Dwayne Murphy the ’84 version), and the dominating run of the Oakland A’s when I dealt away TWO perfectly fine 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson rookie cards.
The handful of magic beans I received that day for my two Hendersons is still a hazy memory, and I’m probably better for that fact. I would like to think I received something of equal or better value that day, but the memory of my friend Tim showing one of our friends the value of the Henderson cards in my Beckett Price Guide after our trade that day leads me to believe I was probably suckered by a few later year Bobby Murcer or Rod Carew cards (two of “my guys” back in 1984; Carew because he was a future Hall of Fame hitting machine, Murcer because I had his autograph and he was a native Oklahoman like myself). Whatever the transaction, I am almost positive I was on the losing end of it then and now.
By 1984 Henderson was about four seasons into his major league career. Prince and Tina Turner were blowing up the charts and “Ghostbusters” and “Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom” were leading the way at the box office. Henderson was a young rising star then, but we didn’t really know how bright his star would shine or how his career would finish. We do now. He finished as the all-time leader in steals (1,406), runs (2,295), and leadoff home runs (81). His rookie card is now worth in upwards of $400 in mint condition – a mere 9,900% increase (approximately). Rickey was a 10 time all-star, two-time World Series champion, and is widely regarded as the greatest leadoff hitter in the history of baseball, and also one of the greatest to ever refer to himself in the third person.
“Rickey was never motivated by stats. He was motivated by numbers. Wins, runs, steals.” – Rickey Henderson
Rickey stole his first base ever in his first game in the big leagues on June 24, 1979 off of the Texas Rangers’ battery of John Henry Johnson and Jim Sundberg. And it would be in just Rickey’s third game on June 26, 1979 when Paul Splitteroff of the Kansas City Royals picked him off from second base marking the first official caught stealing of Rickey’s 24-season, nine-team major league career.
And thus, began Rickey’s long illustrious career of being caught stealing.
“Don’t worry, Rickey, you’re still the best.” – Rickey Henderson
“Hey all right! If I get by, it’s mine. Mine all mine!”
As I referenced at the beginning of this post, the opening line of this classic song is grounded in fact as Jane’s Addiction lead singer Perry Farrell was caught trying to steal a rubber bouncy ball called a Pennsy Pinky at a local candy store in Queens back in the mid 60’s when Perry was just a young pup.
Farrell’s story reminded me of a time when I was also about five myself in the mid 70’s in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I was an enrollee of Mrs. Collins’ Kiddie College preschool, and there was a boy that convinced me to sneak into the front hallway where all of the coats were hung. He proceeded to start checking the coat jacket pockets so I did the same thing and I remember my little fingers grasping onto a Hot Wheels car that he and I took turns playing with. Crime pays! I don’t remember getting caught but thankfully my moral compass pointed me away from a life of kleptomania. Thus, a life of stealing or getting caught was not in the cards for me.
“When I want something,
I don’t want to pay for it
I walk right through the door. Walk right through the door.”
Formed in 1985, Jane’s Addiction is regarded as one of the early frontrunners for 90’s alternative rock bands. Drugs and dissent tore this volatile group apart shortly after their most well known hit captured the hearts and minds of rebellious youth in 1990. With Farrell’s dog Annie barking out the intro, here is Jane’s Addiction and their Modern Rock Chart #1 hit from 1990, “Been Caught Stealing”…
If Rickey Henderson owns this song just remember: “Rickey doesn’t have albums. Rickey has cds.“
Thanks for reading, and remember thou shalt not steal… unless you’re Rickey Henderson.