Rickey Henderson was named after Ricky Nelson

Baseball player Rickey Henderson
Rickey Henderson

Hall of Fame baseball player Rickey Henderson wasn’t named after an earlier baseball player (as Ryne Sandberg was), but after a rock-and-roll singer.

His mother, Bobbie, was a Ricky Nelson fan and named her son after the actor-turned-musician.

Here’s the story:

Henderson was born on Christmas Day, 1958 in Chicago — more specifically, in the back seat of a ’57 Chevy. His father’s name was John L. Henley.

When Bobbie and John brought their newborn son home, they hadn’t chosen a name for him.

“The only name on my birth certificate,” Henderson said, “was Henley, no first name.”

Bobbie…eventually decided on Rickey Nelson Henley for her son. To this day, Henderson has no idea why his first name is spelled with an E.

After Rickey’s father passed away, his mother married a man named Paul Henderson.

Rickey Henderson went on to play major league baseball for 24 seasons. He currently holds the MLB records for both career stolen bases (set in 1991) and career runs (set in 2001).


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