A Few Items on Dave Henderson

Hendu was, on an Oakland A’s team filled with star power from 1988 to 1992, perhaps the A’s player who most appealed to fans. If you remember those teams, you know why he was so popular. In ’88, his quadruple slash line was .304/.363/.525/.887, for a 149 OPS+, second-best on the team and not that far behind Jose Canseco. In ’88 Hendu set career bests for runs, hits, homers, RBIs, doubles, batting average, and slugging percentage. In the World Series that year, his .300 batting average (6 for 20) led A’s hitters who played in all 5 games. He was the only A with more than one extra-base hit off the Dodgers.

Hendu made a lot of good memories for Mariners, Red Sox, and A’s fans, but he ended his career playing 56 games for the Royals in 1994. Despite playing most of his career as a center fielder, he never stole more than 9 bases in a season. He nearly hit 3 homers in the post-Loma Prieta earthquake game 3 of the 1989 World Series, with a 1st-inning double that hit off the top of the Candlestick fence.

His most famous hit is the homer off Donnie Moore in the 1986 ALCS, but he then hit the go-ahead homer in the 10th inning of game 6 of the World Series vs. the Mets. In that Series, Hendu was 10-25 with 6 runs scored, 2 homers, 5 RBIs, and a .760 slugging percentage. He presumably was going to be the Series MVP if the Red Sox won game 6-or game 7. Those ’86 postseason feats are probably why he got two Hall of Fame votes on the 2000 ballot.

This post isn’t so much about memorializing Hendu-a lot of people did that in the days following his death just after Christmas-as it is about highlighting some of the notable stats from his career.

Published in: on January 12, 2016 at 1:34 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good stuff, Arne. While Hendu wasn’t a HOFer, but he was the Mariners’ first-ever draft pick back in 1977 who went on to be a decent MLB outfielder with some clutch performances in the playoffs.

  2. I seem to remember reading, I think in some quickie book assembled by NYC sportswriters right after the ’86 season, that Bruce Hurst had been voted MVP in the Series, only for Calvin Schiraldi to say, “No, wait, I’ve got a better idea”, and for Bob Stanley to say “I really like the cut of this Ray Knight’s jib instead.” That said, Hendu’s HR, like Hal Smith’s 3-run bomb in the 8th inning of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, is one of the great bits of forgotten October heroics. Or, for you younger folk, Josh Harrison’s titanic extra-inning HR in Game 6 of the 2011 Series that nearly gave the Rangers a world championship ….

  3. What a beautiful smile Dave Henderson had. By all accounts he was a first class person. RIP


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