Originally created 08/15/04

Oakland honors ex-closer



OAKLAND, Calif. - Dennis Eckersley got another standing ovation from Oakland Athletics fans Saturday - only this time it came before a game.

Eckersley, who saved a franchise-record 320 games for the A's and closed out their 1989 World Series win over San Francisco, was honored before Saturday's game against Kansas City for July's induction into the Hall of Fame.

"The time I spent in Oakland were the greatest years of my life," he said. "I'll always be appreciative of how the fans supported me in good times and God knows bad times."

Former teammates Dave Henderson and Terry Steinbach gave him a crystal to commemorate the day. Rickey Henderson, Mike Moore, Ron Darling and Rick Honeycutt were also on hand.

The A's also honored former announcer Lon Simmons, who received the Ford C. Frick Award and was the 29th broadcaster inducted into that wing of the Hall of Fame.

holding out hope: Henderson is not waiting by his phone for a call from a major league club offering another shot to return to the majors.

But the 45-year-old outfielder, who was one of the most feared players in the 1980s, still believes he deserves another chance. Right now, Henderson is still toiling in the minors for the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League.

"I'm not right now looking and seeing what teams might need help and could call me," Henderson said Saturday. "I'm out there having fun playing baseball. If a team needs help then they can call me. I'm just enjoying the game. If something happens, it happens."

Considered the greatest leadoff hitter in history, Henderson has 3,055 hits, 1,115 RBI and 297 home runs during his 25-year major league career.

A-ROD DROPS APPEAL: Alex Rodriguez, who has the flu, dropped his appeal of a four-game suspension and began serving the penalty when the Yankees played Seattle on Saturday.

That means the All-Star third baseman also will miss today's game and the first two games of a three-game series at Minnesota on Tuesday and Wednesday.

He'll be eligible to play Thursday night against the Twins.

Rodriguez was one of five players who were suspended after a fight between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 24.

The brawl started after Bronson Arroyo hit Rodriguez with a pitch, and Rodriguez and Boston catcher Jason Varitek scuffled.