Dave Henderson, author of one of the most dramatic home runs in Red Sox history, passed away this morning at Harborview Hospital in Seattle, WA following a massive heart attack. He was 57 years old.
Affectionately known as "Hendu," Henderson was a hero of Boston's 1986 postseason. With the Red Sox season down to its last strike in the ninth inning of American League Championship Series Game 5, Henderson hit a two-strike, two-out, two-run homer that turned a 5-4 deficit into a 6-5 lead. It was the "Great Red Sox Moment" inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2000.
Boston won Game 5 two innings later, with Henderson providing the winning run on a sacrifice fly, and the Red Sox took the next two games, moving on to the World Series.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Dave Henderson," said Red Sox President Sam Kennedy. "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 hit .324 with three homers during that 1986 postseason. After his ALCS Game 5 heroics, he took over as the Red Sox' centerfielder and went deep twice against the New York Mets in the World Series. In Game 1, he homered off Dwight Gooden. In Game 6, he gave the team the potential World Series-clinching lead with a homer to begin the 10th inning, but Boston was unable to hold on.
A 14-year major league veteran, Henderson was acquired by the Red Sox from the Seattle Mariners in August 1986 and served primarily as a bat off the bench that season. In 111 regular season games for Boston in 1986 and 1987, he batted .226 with nine home runs and 28 RBI before being traded to the San Francisco Giants in September 1987.
In 1,538 career major league games between the Mariners (1981-86), Red Sox (1986-87), Giants (1987), Oakland Athletics (1988-93), and Kansas City Royals (1994), Henderson hit .258 with 197 home runs and 708 RBI. With Oakland in 1991, he was named to the American League All-Star Team. He hit .298 with seven home runs in 36 career postseason games.
A California native, he spent the last five seasons in the broadcast booth for the Mariners. In October, he underwent a kidney transplant.