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Monday, April 21
Updated: April 22, 4:41 PM ET
Henderson will sign with an Atlantic League team

Associated Press

Rickey Henderson will soon put on a new jersey in New Jersey.

Hoping to play again in the major leagues but still searching for a spot, the 44-year-old Henderson will sign this week with a team in the independent Atlantic League, his agent said Monday.

Henderson narrowed his choice to three clubs based in New Jersey -- the Newark Bears, Camden Riversharks and Somerset Patriots.

Henderson, baseball's career leader in runs, stolen bases and walks, wants to start playing as soon as possible, agent Jeff Borris said. The Atlantic League begins its regular season May 1, the earliest among independents.

Henderson spent last season with the Boston Red Sox, hitting .223 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 72 games. He continued to draw walks, however, and had a higher on-base percentage (.369) than regular Red Sox leadoff man Johnny Damon (.356).

Widely considered the greatest leadoff man ever, Henderson has 3,040 lifetime hits since making his major league debut in 1979.

Henderson has scored 2,288 runs, and his eight steals last season increased his total to 1,403. He also holds records for walks (2,179) and leadoff home runs (80).

Henderson was the 1990 American League MVP for the Oakland Athletics, and he won World Series championships with the A's in 1989 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993.

Primarily a left fielder throughout his career, Henderson played all three outfield spots last season. He had a $350,000 contract with the Red Sox.

Henderson was not looking for a rich deal this year, either. Instead, he wanted another chance to play.

There had been talk early in the offseason that he might return to Oakland for a fifth stint with the Athletics, but nothing came of it.

When no spots opened up in the majors, Henderson thought about joining the St. Paul Saints, the team where Darryl Strawberry once jump-started his career. The Saints play in the Northern League, which doesn't start until May 23.

Newark has had its share of big-name players, including Jose Canseco in 2001. League champions last season, the Bears signed former 20-game winner Jose Lima last week as they prepared to leave for spring training in Homestead, Fla.

Several former big leaguers are on the rosters of the eight teams in the Atlantic League. Camden recently signed Kevin Jordan, while Somerset added Jason Dickson and Melvin Nieves.

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