A's rookie Butler cherishes legend Henderson's advice

A's rookie Butler cherishes legend Henderson's advice originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Rookie outfielder Lawrence Butler is the latest Athletics youngster to be privileged to receive guidance from a franchise legend.

Like fellow speedster Esteury Ruiz, Butler has formed a special relationship with Oakland great Rickey Henderson.

Butler discussed learning all he could when Henderson appeared at A’s camp earlier this spring.

“It’s an honor to be around baseball royalty like that,” Butler said (h/t’s Martín Gallegos). “I’ve talked to him about a million things. He’s helped me a lot with baserunning tips. Little helpful tips in the outfield to try to get my first step quicker, both on the basepaths and on defense. He’s been on me with that.”

Henderson’s words weigh heavy for any young MLB player trying to establish themselves, but they hit differently for a fellow A.

Butler made his debut during the 2023 MLB season, posting 26 hits in 129 appearances with a .240 on-base percentage. But he has had a great spring and will add Henderson’s advice about baserunning and defense to his repertoire, making him bound for a breakout 2024 campaign.

The 23-year-old has been dubbed the leader of the A’s "New Oakland" youth movement, per Gallegos, which leads him to pay homage to A’s greats like Henderson.

He emphasizes their history and building of the A's passionate fanbase as areas he wants today’s team to honor.

“They’re the ones who built up this organization and the fan base we have,” Butler added. “You always have to pay tribute to the OGs and not let those guys go unnoticed or forgotten. It’s always good to have those guys around.”

Butler is trying to make Oakland’s Opening Day roster. So far, he owns a .474 OBS with 14 hits and four RBI in 38 at-bats, offering A’s manager Mark Kotsay a strong case.

Learning from Henderson is a constant on Butler’s radar, and he tries to incorporate any traits of the first-ballot National Baseball Hall of Fame selection wherever he can.

“The jersey pop and the chain pop when he hits a homer, he’s just always had swag and always been very confident,” Butler said, describing Henderson. “I feel like I would like to emulate parts of my game after Rickey. Just being able to talk to him and pick his brain this camp has been a huge help.”

It’s always great to see legends pay it forward to hungry prospects.