Dave Henderson, known as Hendu, dies at 57
Dave Henderson, who spent 14 years as a Major League outfielder and was known as Hendu, died Sunday morning due to a heart attack at the age of 57. He had recently undergone a kidney transplant.
Henderson delivered one of the biggest home runs in Red Sox history in 1986. Boston was one strike away from elimination in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series against the Angels when Henderson — who had been hitless in the series — blasted a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning. The Red Sox would go on to win the game and the series.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Dave Henderson,” Red Sox President Sam Kennedy said in a statement. “His home run in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS was a signature moment in Red Sox history, and 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.”
Henderson played an important role with the A’s teams that went to three consecutive World Series from 1988-90. His best season came in ’88, when he hit 24 home runs and set career highs in RBIs (94), batting average (.304) and OPS (.887). He made his lone All-Star Game in 1991, a year when he hit a career-best 25 homers.
“The A’s are saddened to hear of the passing of Dave Henderson,” the club said in a statement. “Henderson was an instrumental part of the A’s 1989 World Series championship club and an even more impactful member of the A’s family and community. Hendu and his smile will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family.”
The Mariners selected Henderson in the first round of the 1977 Draft despite Henderson receiving offers to play football at Fresno State.
“Dave was one of the most popular Mariners in our history, but Dave was also one of the most popular players in Red Sox and A’s history,” Mariners president Kevin Mather said in a statement released by the team. “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.”
Henderson was a lifetime .258/.320/.436 hitter with 197 home runs during a career spent with the Mariners, Red Sox, Giants, A’s and Royals. He was also known for his infectious smile, which could light up a room.
After his playing career ended, Henderson worked as a broadcaster for the Mariners’ radio and television broadcasts from 1997-2006. He returned as a part-time radio announcer in 2011.