From Sox hero to Mariners broadcaster
Catching up with Dave Henderson
BELLEVUE, Wash. -- He played in only 111 games for the Boston Red Sox over a span of two seasons, but his name is permanently etched in team history.
The Red Sox were down to their last out, trailing 5-4 to the California Angels, in Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship Series in Anaheim. Down 3-1 in the series, one more loss would end Boston's chances.
That's when Dave Henderson stepped to the plate. With Rich Gedman on first base and Henderson down to his last strike, he delivered one of the most memorable home runs in Red Sox history to give Boston the lead.
"We were down and I was the last line of defense," said Henderson. "I was facing a closer (Donnie Moore) that I didn't have much chance off of. When it got to 0-2 I stepped out of the batters box and looked around. People were in the stands in their starting blocks ready to run out to the field.
"When I got to 2-2 I felt a little bit more confident. He threw a forkball and I got out in front and hit it out of the ballpark. After 64,000 people yelling it got really quiet in Anaheim. I ran around the bases and one of the most friendly faces I saw was Rene Lachemann at third base. He gave me the low five and I hit home plate."
Recently, ESPN made it No. 96 on their list of the top 100 sports moments of the last 25 years.
Ultimately, the Angels tied up the game in the bottom of the ninth, but once again, in the 11th inning, Henderson came through for the Sox. He knocked in Don Baylor on a sacrifice fly and propelled the Red Sox to victory and eventually on to the World Series.
"I came around again and hit the sacrifice fly," said Henderson. "We won that ball game and the rest is history. Once we got to back to Boston the (final) two games were a given -- we were going to win those games. We blew them out in both games."
These days, Henderson lives in Bellevue, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, where he works in the broadcast booth for the Mariners doing both television and radio. Henderson played for Seattle from 1981-1986. Taken in the first round of the 1977 draft, he was the first player ever drafted by the Mariners.
"On our broadcasts we do five innings television and four on radio," said Henderson. "It has been interesting being in the booth. I do about 51 games a year. I don't travel very much, but make it a point to come back to Boston and visit old stomping grounds. I still have a lot of friends here and relatives down in Newton."
Back at home, Henderson has two sons: Chace, 18, and Trent, 17.
"My oldest has Angelman Syndrome," said Henderson. "He is handicapped and is about to graduate this year, so we are going to have a good time. One of the reasons I retired early was to go home and play with the kids."
Outside of baseball, Henderson is an avid golfer and is very active among the community, especially helping the Angelman Foundation.
"I am involved in a lot of charities including the children's hospital, Cystic Fibrosis which Don Baylor introduced me too and of course the Angelman Foundation, which my son has," said Henderson.
Boston fans first met Dave Henderson in 1986, when he was traded from the Mariners in a deal that also brought Spike Owen to the Hub.
"I wasn't surprised at all about the trade because it was my free agent year," said Henderson. "The Mariners decided they weren't going to pay me and usually if you are not going to pay the guy you trade him before the deadline. I got traded and came to Boston.
"I wasn't very happy because there wasn't a job for me. Tony Armas was the center fielder and (manager John) McNamara told me I would back up Tony and I would have a chance to go to the playoffs and the World Series. It was bittersweet, but we had had a good time on that team."
On Sept. 1, 1987, the Red Sox traded Henderson to the San Francisco Giants for a player to be named later, ending his brief stay with Boston.
In all, Henderson played 14 seasons in the major leagues from 1981-1994. He played for the Mariners, Red Sox, Giants, A's, and Royals.
"I did not get 3,000 hits, but I got a lot that counted at money time," said Henderson. "If you watched me in the playoffs and World Series I was a different type of player. I was more a superstar during the playoffs and World Series and was an average player during the course of a year. I guess I got a lot better when the stakes got a lot higher."