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Henderson Deal: $12 Million for 4 Years : Baseball: Contract is longest since 1985 and ties Puckett's per-year amount from Twins as richest in game's history.

November 29, 1989|From Staff and Wire Reports

OAKLAND — During postseason play, Rickey Henderson said that he was a money player. Oakland Athletics negotiators have an idea that he plays fiscal hardball during the off-season, too.

Henderson got a $12 million reward Tuesday for helping the Oakland Athletics win the World Series, signing the first four-year baseball contract since 1985.

The A's also included a no-trade clause in the contract.

Henderson, first to sign a four-year deal since Ken Oberkfell with Atlanta in 1985, gets a $1 million signing bonus, $2 million in 1990 and $3 million in 1991, 1992 and 1993. It makes him baseball's second $3 million-a-year player. Minnesota Twin center fielder Kirby Puckett agreed to a $9 million, three-year contract last Wednesday.

Arn Tellem, who represents free agent pitcher Mark Langston, was pleased to hear about Henderson's four-year deal, calling it an encouraging break with the owners' pattern of the last few years. He couldn't predict what impact it would have on Langston's negotiations, but added that length of contract will be a factor in Langston's decision.

"I'm asking for a five-year deal," Tellem said. "I'm waiting for someone to step forward and offer five years."

There are rumors that Gene Autry, the Angels' owner, has already done that, but Tellem said he wouldn't comment on specific aspects of his negotiations.

Henderson's agent, Richie Bry, said his client "has the largest guaranteed contract in baseball, by a wide margin."

"My heart was set on playing in Oakland," said Henderson, 30, an Oakland native.

A's General Manager Sandy Alderson knew he needed to act fast to avoid giving Yankee owner George Steinbrenner a chance to lure Henderson back to New York. The Yankees traded him to Oakland on June 21.

Henderson was named the outstanding player in the playoffs against Toronto, batting .400 with two home runs, five RBIs and eight steals.

Times Staff Writer Ross Newhan contributed to this story.

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