June 13, 2012

Rickey Being Naked

Rickey Henderson, 1991 Score Dream Team series

Score’s Dream Team series was mostly sort of weird. But this one … this card right here is just … man. This is an awesome baseball card, the precursor to ESPN’s “Body” series, which has morphed into something overtly sexual and awkward. (Instead of getting ready to steal a base, ESPN would have had Rickey completely naked, covering up his genitalia with a playful look that said, “Don’t steal my penis!”)

I’m also not sure any baseball card of my youth was more flattering to the player featured. All baseball cards are 3 ½ X 2 ½” pieces of cardboard, but the difference between the above card and this one are evidence that not all cards are created equal. I doubt Rickey minded the attention.

Score: Rickey, it’s Score. We need you to come to the studio tomorrow for the Dream Team series photo shoot.

Rickey: Cool. Rickey’ll be there. You want me to wear my stocking cap and beauty rest blindfold to go along with the "dream" theme?

Score: Actually … we need you to bring just a pair of spandex and a gold chain.

Rickey: Got it.

Next day, Rickey arrives wearing suit, changes in fitting room, shoot goes smoothly.

20 years later …

Score: So, true story: We’re doing a ‘Dream Team’ photo shoot in which Rickey is going to pose, essentially, naked. So I call him up the day before and say, ‘Rickey, just bring spandex and a gold chain.’ He says, ‘Rickey don’t understand.’ I say, ‘Don’t worry about it, Rickey, just trust me.’ So the next day, we’re all sitting in the studio getting ready, and in walks Rickey … barefoot, wearing only the spandex and gold chain! I say, ‘Rickey, we have a changing room here!’ He says, ‘Rickey don’t care. Rickey went to the grocery store first, and being there like this felt Liberace.’ I said, ‘Rickey, do you mean liberating?’ So he says, ‘Rickey knew a guy who used to wear a helmet like that,’ as he’s pointing to a naked Jon Olerud in the corner, whose shoot we just did. I said, ‘Rickey, Jon Olerud is your teammate!’”

(By the way, I am aware that Score went to the Rickey Henderson Naked well often. That does put a slight damper on this card, but still.)

Rickey infuriates, distracts and disrupts an opponent

Especially when he is standing at first base naked. By the way, there is so much I remember about Rickey Henderson as a kid—he hit a leadoff home run at the first Yankee game my dad ever took me to—not the least of which is the way he affected the entire flow of a baseball game when he reached first base. Part of the reason I love this card so much is because it captured everything he was about as a player with one pose. Yes, he’s going to steal … but look at that power. The other reason I love this card is because I like hot bodies.

But most of all, Rickey “has a way of unnerving pitchers, forcing them to do things they don’t ordinarily do,” says pitcher Kirk McCaskill.

Pitcher: Well, I don’t normally do this, but since Rickey’s on base … does robot.


troy said...

"Don't Steal My Penis!" would be a good name for a band or album.

mkenny59 said...

I agree, troy.

And speaking of bands ... was checking out The Troy Westfield Experience online last night and loving it! Awesome stuff! Everybody should check out troy's band at thetwex.com. I especially enjoyed the acoustic jam linked from the fb page. Thanks for putting me on to it, very impressed!