Three Dodgers on HOF Ballot

Former Dodgers Rickey Henderson, Tommy John and Jesse Orosco were on the 2009 Hall of Fame ballot that was sent out after the season ended, the results of which will be announced today (Monday).

Henderson, who played briefly with the Dodgers in 2003, may be elected on his first year of eligibility.

The rest of the ballot:

Harold Baines
Jay Bell
Bert Blyleven
David Cone
Andre Dawson
Ron Gant
Mark Grace
Rickey Henderson
Don Mattingly
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Dale Murphy
Jesse Orosco
Dave Parker
Dan Plesac
Tim Raines
Jim Rice
Lee Smith
Alan Trammell
Greg Vaughn
Mo Vaughn
Matt  Williams
The greatest leadoff man in baseball history, Henderson, whose final (brief) stop was with the Dodgers in 2003, scored 2,295 runs, stole 1,406 bases (both all time career records), had 3,055 hits, and walked 2,190 bases during his career.

Of that total, only seven runs, 17 hits and three stolen bases, are included in his single season in L.A. and he hit only .208.

"I played for a long time and with a lot of great players," said Dennis Eckersley, the Hall of Fame closer who was Henderson's teammate on the Oakland Athletics. "I told Rickey this once, but I don't know if he was listening to me. He's the greatest player I ever played with."

Through all of Henderson's chatter, Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly who is also on the ballot, considered him a baseball savant. "He kind of gets his words jumbled sometimes so some people think that he isn't smart," said Mattingly, Henderson's teammate on the Yankees. "But he is. Rickey knows exactly what was going on."

Mattingly continued, "As great as this guy was, he's playing independent ball? But then it told me how much he loved to play the game. He was going to play until they tore the uniform off. You know what I say to that? Go for it."

Over 25 seasons, Henderson did that. He would have played even longer, if only someone wanted him. Eckersley said "there was nobody like him," no one with the combination of speed, smarts, arrogance and style.

Tommy John, of whole the surgical procedure that repairs torn arms, is again on the ballot as is Jesse Orosco, who played in Los Angeles in 1988, 2001-02, but is remembered mostly by Dodgers fans as the one that put eye black in Kirk Gibson's cap before an exhibition game and was on the endangered list until the fiery outfielder calmed down.

Another who may get the needed number of votes, Jim Rice, doesn't discuss the anticipation and nerves leading into Monday, when the vote could finally go his way. Rice came agonizingly close to getting in last year, garnering 72.2 percent of the vote. Another 16 votes and he would have had the necessary 75 percent.