When I first started thinking about writing this post my focus was predictably on Dave Henderson’s dramatic game 5 ALCS homerun. It was a moment that brought hope and the belief that the 1986 Red Sox were a team of destiny. Of course history records something different and Boston fans had to wait 18 more seasons to see a World Championship Red Sox team. While grazing the internet I discovered that history records Henderson’s life and career differently than shown by that never ending highlight loop of his homerun in Anaheim.
Often as fans we glorify the public achievements of the players we root for and ignore the man and his actions off of the field. In a time when turning on ESPN ensures yet another story of domestic violence, drug arrests or multi-million dollar salary disputes, what I found written about Dave Henderson certainly caught me by surprise and changed how I view the man. Henderson past away just after Christmas last year and instead of a torrid string of articles about drugs, mistresses and gambling, what was put out about him were articles about a man with a big smile and an even bigger heart. Countless families came forward telling of visits to sick children in hospitals across the country, teammates wrote about his ability to make peace among angry teammates and usually skeptical sports reporters spoke of him in term of endearment. Hendu, I am glad you were a member of our team, if only for a few short years.