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THE BEST LEADOFF MAN EVER? Henderson's Play Changes the Game
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Date: May 14, 1987
Start Page: 1
Section: Sports; 3; Sports Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

At 27, four years after stealing 130 bases for the A's to set a single-season record, [Martin-Henderson] has stolen 17 bases in 17 attempts this season to lead the American League. Last year, when he led the league for a seventh consecutive season to move to within two seasons of Luis Aparicio's all-time record, Henderson set a Yankee record with 87 steals.

An outstanding high school running back at Oakland Tech, Henderson doesn't consider himself fast, only quick. He accelerates to full speed within two or three strides. In a recent game at Minnesota, Henderson broke from first base and scored on an infield single by [Dave Winfield], a high chopper off the synthetic surface. Henderson said he has also improved as a "reader" of pitchers' moves.

Henderson loves Martin. He sees a lot of Billy the Kid's aggressiveness, creativity and face-in-the-dirt style in his own game. Martin worked on Henderson, attempting to convince him that he should look to drive the ball when ahead in the count. Martin's successor with the A's, Steve Boros, picked up the theme, but it wasn't until Henderson came to the Yankees that Willie Horton, then the batting coach, taught him how to hit for distance, developing backspin by swinging down on the ball.

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