SEATTLE, Wash. —Dave Henderson, who played 14 seasons in the Major Leagues and hit one of the most famous home runs in post-season history, passed away at Harborview Hospital in Seattle early this morning following a massive heart attack. Henderson was 57 years old.
“On behalf of the Seattle Mariners, I want to extend our deepest sympathies to Chase and Trent and Nancy and to Dave’s many friends,” Seattle Mariners team president Kevin Mather said. “He was a devoted father to his two sons and always willing to help someone in need.”
“Dave was one of the most popular Mariners in our history, but Dave was also one of the most popular player’s 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.”
Henderson is survived by his sons, Chase and Trent, his wife Nancy, thousands of friends. His first wife, Loni, also survives him.
Dave was well known, and well loved, for his always positive attitude and huge smile. He cared deeply for his family and his community, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support research into Angelman Syndrome (http://www.angelman.org/), a genetic disorder that affects his son, Chase. Dave was also one of the founders of Ricks Toys For Kids, a charity which provides dozens of agencies and thousands of children who otherwise would not receive a gift Christmas presents each year.
“Hendu” was born July 21, 1958 in Merced, CA. He graduated from Dos Polos High School in 1977. Dos Polos later retired both his football and baseball numbers.
Dave was the Seattle Mariners first-ever draft pick, the first round pick (27th overall) in the 1977 Draft, and made his debut with the Mariners on April 9, 1981. He played in the Majors with Seattle (1981-86), Boston (1986-87), San Francisco (1987), Oakland (1988-93) and Kansas City (1994). His career included four trips to the post-season with Boston (1986) and Oakland (1988, 1989, 1990), with all four of his playoff years culminating in World Series appearances.
With the Red Sox one strike from elimination, Henderson hit a two-strike, two-out, two-run home run in the top of the 9th inning in Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship series to help send the series back to Boston for Game 6. The Red Sox won both Game 6 & 7 and advanced to the World Series.
Following his playing career, Henderson was active in real estate, worked with baseball players as an agent, spent a decade as a broadcaster for the Seattle Mariners (from 1997-2006, and in 2011), and ran fantasy baseball camps for A’s and Mariners fans in Arizona.
On October 26 of this year, Dave underwent a kidney transplant.