Former Major League Baseball star Dave Henderson passed away Sunday morning from a massive heart attack at Harborview Hospital in Seattle. He was 57.
Affectionately known as “Hendu,” Henderson hit one of the most dramatic home runs in Boston Red Sox history in 1986. With the Red Sox down 5-4 in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, Henderson connected on a two-strike, two-out, two-run homer that gave Boston a 6-5 lead. The Red Sox would win game 5 as well as Games 6 and 7 to advance to the World Series where they lost to the New York Mets.
“His home run in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS was a signature moment in Red Sox history,” said Red Sox president Sam Kennedy. “We shared his unbridled joy when he hopped into the air as the ball cleared the fence in Anaheim. Hendu played just two seasons in Boston, but we always regarded him as one of us and are grateful for the time we were able to enjoy his talent and infectious personality. Everywhere he went, Henderson made friends. He was a great ambassador for our game, and we have lost him far too soon.”
A popular player
Henderson played 14 seasons in the majors with five teams — the Seattle Mariners (1981-86), Red Sox (1986-87), San Francisco Giants (1987), Oakland Athletics (1988-93) and Kansas City Royals (1994) — and hit .258 with 197 home runs and 708 RBIs. He went to the postseason four times with Boston (1986) and Oakland (1988, 1989, 1990) advancing to the World Series all four years. His only All-Star appearance came as a member of the Athletics in 1989. The same year he helped Oakland win its first title in 15 years.
Henderson, who was the Mariners’ first-ever draft pick, spent a decade in the broadcast booth for the Mariners and ran fantasy baseball camps for the Athletics and Mariners fans in Arizona.
Mariners president Kevin Mather said, “Dave was one of the most popular Mariners in our history, but Dave was also one of the most popular player’s in Red Sox and A’s history. He had a special ability to connect with people, both inside the game and in the communities in which he lived. I never saw him at the ballpark, or on the golf course, without a big smile on his face.”
In October, he underwent a kidney transplant. Henderson is survived by his wife Nancy and his sons, Chase and Trent. His first wife, Loni, also survives him.