If you had to make one historical comparison for Dodgers rookie James Outman -- recent dip notwithstanding, a clearly skilled lefty-swinging outfielder with power and speed -- you'd probably go pretty far down the list before settling on Rickey Henderson.
No disrespect to Outman, who's got a hell of a career ahead of him and is riding high after delivering Tuesday night's extra-inning walk-off double, but ... no, that's ... that's not who we had in mind.
Somehow, though, the hotshot just became the first MLB player to put up a perfect day at the plate of 3-for-3 or better, walk at least twice, steal a bag, and drill a walk-off, which he did in the 10th with a near-homer/double. Nobody'd done that specific combination since Henderson in 1998 against the Angels.
No rookie had done it in the modern era ... ever.
Dodgers James Outman walks off Blue Jays, makes MLB history
You know the "modern era," right? Pretty good era. Pretty long era. Yeah, no one's ever done this before. Not bad.
While Outman's May was disastrous (.165, .552 OPS) and his June underwhelming (.224, marginally worse .551 OPS), his April (and 2022 cameo) proved he had the ability to translate his "it" factor to reality. No matter how deeply mired in his struggles he got, it always felt as if he'd be able to ascend once more and embody his earlier-season star quality.
Those who've stuck with him have been justly rewarded as the summer's heated up.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts offered postgame praise for Outman's extra-inning clout (who wouldn't?), remarking that he'd grown up "quickly" in recent weeks. The rookie put an exclamation point on his own progress by knocking the Toronto Blue Jays back in the Wild Card race in a game some of their fans might've turned off with a four-run lead in the ninth.
That's a game you can't lose, unless a budding superstar emerges and takes it from you.
Outman has fulfilled his April promise the past few weeks with an eye on October. Hopefully, when he gets there, he goes supernova like Rickey in '98.