When Rickey Henderson sets the major league stolen base record (as he almost assuredly will in the next day or two), his achievement may be more scrutinized than hailed. The Oakland speedster has 117 thefts, just two shy of breaking Lou Brock's mark, but some observers have frowned on the way Henderson has pursued a place in history.
He has stolen for stealing's sake, they say. Brock, meanwhile, used his larcenous legs to keep the St. Louis Cardinals in a tight division race in 1964, and before that, Maury Wills once did the same thing as the Dodgers battled the Giants into a post-season playoff in 1962. It seems unfair, however, to question Henderson for doing what people pay to see him do, even if the A's are out of contention, as long as it's done in appropriate game situations.