Dave Henderson, an outfielder whose home run for the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 American League Championship Series ignited one of baseball’s most dramatic playoff comebacks, died of a heart attack on Sunday at age 57, the Seattle Mariners said.
Henderson died at a Seattle hospital where he had a kidney transplant about a month ago, the Mariners said on their website. Henderson lived in Seattle and is survived by his wife and two sons, the team said.
Henderson’s 14-year career began with the Mariners and he later played for Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s and Kansas City Royals, hitting 197 home runs and driving in 708 runs during his MLB tenure. He was a member of the 1991 American League All-Star team and played in four World Series.
He is best known for hitting a two-run home run with the Red Sox facing elimination and down to their last out in the ninth inning of the fifth game of the 1986 American League playoffs against the California Angels.
Henderson’s homer gave Boston the lead in a game it eventually won in extra innings. The team also won the next two games and advanced to the World Series against the New York Mets.
Henderson was almost the hero again in Game 6 of the World Series when he hit the go-ahead homer in the 10th inning to help put the Red Sox on the brink of their first World Series championship since 1918. But the Mets staged a furious rally to win in the bottom of the inning and then won Game 7.
Henderson played on three straight American League pennant winners in Oakland from 1988 to 1990, winning the World Series with the A’s in 1989.
“Dave was one of the most popular Mariners in our history, but Dave was also one of the most popular players in Red Sox and A’s history,” Mariners President Kevin Mather said in a statement. “He had a special ability to connect with people, both inside the game and in the communities in which he lived.”