Rickey Henderson breaks Ruth's walk record

Thursday, April 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Rickey Henderson set the major league walks record at 2,063 Wednesday night, taking sole possession of the mark he had shared for a day with Babe Ruth.

Henderson walked on a 3-1 pitch from Philadelphia Phillies reliever Jose Mesa leading off the ninth. Henderson tossed his bat aside and jogged to first. He shook hands with first base coach Alan Trammell and acknowledged the standing ovation from what remained of the crowd of 12,573, blowing kisses.

The Phillies won the game 5-3.

``The record is outstanding,'' Henderson said. ``It's great to be in a class with Babe Ruth and all that good stuff, but I'm the type of person that wants to win,'' Henderson said.

``I still feel great about breaking this record by one of the greatest ballplayers who ever played this game.''

Henderson, the career steals leader with 1,371, was then erased trying to take second.

``It's quite a milestone,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. ``You're talking about history. I don't know if that will ever be broken. I'm proud for Rickey.

``It was great getting the leadoff hitter on that inning. But then we fell short.''

Henderson was 10-for-24 lifetime against Mesa coming in, with 10 walks.

The record walk ``came at a time we needed to get on,'' Henderson said. ``You get up there and you're trying to work your way on the base, no matter which way you go, a walk or a hit.''

``When they bring in their stopper out of the bullpen, you've got to go up there and be prepared to hit the ball. It so happened he walked me.''

Henderson tied Ruth at 2,062 as a pinch-hitter in Tuesday night's 12-7 loss to the Phillies.

Henderson was back in the starting lineup Wednesday after sitting out a start because his average had tumbled to .111.

Henderson, considered the greatest leadoff hitter in history, signed a minor league contract with the Padres with two weeks left in spring training and was called up on April 17, beginning his 23rd big league season.

Henderson, 42, needs 67 runs to break Ty Cobb's record of 2,245, and 84 hits to become the 25th player in baseball history to reach 3,000.

Henderson also played with the Padres from 1996 until being traded to Anaheim on Aug. 13, 1997.