On Sunday, December 27, former Major League Baseball star Dave Henderson passed away from a massive heart attack at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Henderson was 57 at the time of his death.
“I never saw him have a bad day,” first baseman Mark McGwire told Mercury News. “He’d strike out, and he’d come back to the dugout flashing that gap-toothed grin. He loved to play the game. He was a beautiful man.”
According to CNN, Henderson, also known as “Hendu,” hit one of the most dramatic home runs in Boston Red Sox history in 1986. The Red Sox were down 5-4 in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, and Henderson connected on a two-strike, two-out, two-run homer that gave Boston a 6-5 lead.
The Red Sox won that day and ended up dominating the field in Game 6 and Game 7, advancing the team to play in the World Series where they lost to the New York Mets.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Dave Henderson. His postseason heroics will live on in Red Sox history. #Hendu— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) December 27, 2015
“His home run in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS was a signature moment in Red Sox history,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said in a statement.
“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.”
But, beyond his most memorable play off moment, Henderson played 14 seasons in the majors with five teams, including the Seattle Mariners (1981-86), Red Sox (1986-87), San Francisco Giants (1987), Oakland Athletics (1988-93), and the Kansas City Royals (1994).
According to ESPN, Henderson batted.298 with seven homers and a.570 slugging percentage. In 1991, Henderson was named an All-Star.
“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,” the A’s said in a statement. “Hendu and his smile will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Several others took to social media to pay their respects.
RT @GlobeBobRyan: RIP Dave Henderson. There would have been a statue. If only ...— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) December 27, 2015
Sad day today as I just found out that my good buddy "Hendu" passed away. Always smiling, always happy. RIP Dave Henderson.— Joe Carter (@JoeCarter_29) December 27, 2015
Always memorable, Dave Henderson will be missed https://t.co/zrDKUYiHHA— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) December 27, 2015
“He was a devoted father to his two sons and always willing to help someone in need,” Mariners President Kevin Mather said in a statement.
“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. 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.”
After Henderson’s playing career ended, he spent time as a broadcaster for the Mariners in addition to running fantasy camps for A’s and Mariners fans.
[Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images]