Early Sunday, word broke that Dave Henderson has died at 57, about a month after receiving a kidney transplant.
Henderson, who split his 14-year MLB career with the Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals, was remembered by the A's on Sunday via their Twitter page:
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"Hendu," as he was affectionately known by fans and teammates alike, was a postseason hero for the Red Sox in their 1986 World Series run, and spent several years as a member of the Mariners' radio/TV broadcasts in recent years.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle caught up with a few of Henderson's A's teammates, who had only the best to say about their former comrade. Terry Steinbach, A's catcher during their great late-1980s run, had this to say about Hendu:
"The thing that stood out was his attitude," Steinbach said. "There wasn't a stadium we went to where he didn't have the center field fans going crazy. He really had respect and appreciation for the game. People talk about all the big hits and the World Series, but to me, it was that great attitude he brought every day. He would instantly pick you up, put you in the right frame of mind, get you going."
Curt Young, former pitcher and the A's current pitching coach, spoke about Henderson's role on the 1988 A's club:
"He was definitely one of the leaders of our team. Hendu could talk the talk and walk the walk; he was never afraid of any moment, obviously, with what he did in big games."
"He enjoyed it all. He enjoyed playing the game, he enjoyed golf, he enjoyed his family. Whatever he was going to do, he was going to have as much fun as he could possibly have. What a neat guy."
Henderson was best known for his home run in the 1986 AL Championship Series. With the Red Sox one strike from elimination in Game 5, Henderson hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth against the California Angels to send the series back to Boston. The Red Sox won Games 6 and 7 to advance to the World Series.
He was also a reliable contributor to four teams that reached the World Series. His greatest success came from 1988-91 with Oakland. During that four-year stretch, the A's went to the World Series three times.
For his career, Henderson hit 197 home runs, drove in 708 runs and hit .258/.320/.436.