OFF BASE by Rickey Henderson


Confessions of a Thief
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 Henderson, who holds baseball's major-league record for most stolen bases, won't steal into many hearts with this superficial and self-congratulatory autobiography co-written by a baseball writer for the Gannett News Service. When Henderson broke Lou Brock's base-stealing record last year, he promptly grabbed a microphone and crowed, ``I am the greatest of all time.'' The subsequent public backlash did nothing to temper his pride, although it clearly stung, judging by the flood of defensive self-promotion on view here. For example: ``I don't think I'm greedy. If number one means stolen bases, hits, and runs, it also means dollars. Number one in all categories. That's not being greedy. That's being deserving. That's being number one. That's America.'' Sad to say, there's little in Henderson's retelling of his life to compensate for all the grandstanding. While some memories grip (the 1982 theft of 130 bases, a childhood friendship with M.C. Hammer) and genuine feeling sometimes seeps through (above all, in Henderson's deep love for manager Billy Martin), by and large this is autobiography by the book. A young man proves himself, paeans to motherhood powder the page, and Henderson's ego constantly gets in the way: Do we really need to listen to him tell Mark McGwire how to hit home runs? Unquestionably, Henderson is a baseball genius, the greatest lead-off hitter and base-stealer ever. But his mouth moves as fast as his legs, and the reader is left holding the bag. (B&w photo insert--not seen.)

Pub Date: June 24th, 1992
ISBN: 0-06-017975-9
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1992