Sometimes, baseball players become so synonymous with specific moments that the truth gets washed away in the emotion of the memory.
For instance, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name, “Dave Henderson”?
If you were a baseball fan in 1986, then I’ll lay Donruss to donuts you picture him taking Donnie Moore deep into the Anaheim night to save the Boston Red Sox season in the ALCS that October.
And that actually happened …
The Sox were down to their last gasp in the top of the ninth in Game 5, behind 5-4 with two out and one on when Hendu uncorked to left field.
End of story.
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It was a day game.
And, while the blast put the Red Sox up, 6-5, the Halos answered in their half of the ninth.
And then, in the 11th, Henderson came up again, with Moore still on the mound (as an aside, you think that would ever happen today??).
It was an easier setup for Henderson this time around, what with the bases loaded and nobody out. He delivered, too, lifting a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Don Baylor.
Now, end of story. Right?
Because that just brought the Sox to within one game of tying the series, still down three games to two.
They managed to take the next two contests, of course, but for the series, Henderson managed just one hit — you know which one that was — in nine at-bats, though he did walk twice and score two runs.
He was the hero … a hero, at least … but he wasn’t the MVP, or even a full-timer, appearing in just five of the seven games.
Nope, it was little Marty Barrett who copped MVP honors, courtesy of his .367 batting average, four runs scored, and five RBI.
But that one moment from Hendu, the homer off Moore, was so dramatic, that no one will ever forget about it. I mean, Topps dedicated an entire card in their 1987 Woolworth Baseball Highlights set to that flash in time.
Now, Topps did include Henderson in their glossy box set, at card #22, but that pasteboard says, “WORLD SERIES GAME #2” on the little banner at the bottom right of the card front.
Say what? Not Game 5 of the ALCS?
Flip #22 over, and you see the story:
Dave drilled 2 Singles and HR with 2 RBI as Red Sox defeated Mets by 9-3 score to win Game 2 of 1986 World Series. His HR led off fourth inning.
And, if you bust out the stats from that classic seven-game tilt between the Sox and the New York Mets, you’ll see that Henderson acquitted himself quite well across the board:
.400/.448/.760 slash line, 2 home runs, 5 RBI, 6 runs scored, 10 hits
Those look like MVP numbers to me, and in fact, Henderson was tops, or tied for tops, in all those categories among all hitters for both teams in that Fall Classic, with the exception of Gary Cater’s nine RBI for the Amazin’s.
So, you gotta figure Bill Buckner’s ninth-inning gaffe at first base in Game 6 not only cost the Sox a championship but also likely lightened Henderson’s personal hardware load.
Could any of that have changed our memory of Henderson as THE MAN in the 1986 ALCS?
I doubt it, and no hunk of Woolworth cardboard can rewrite that historical perspective, either.
Wow! Wax of the Day
You can’t write about the 1987 Woolworth set and not point out that you can still buy this thing all day long, in complete boxed form, on eBay, as with this lot …
It’s not a wax pack, true, but it’s cheap, has all 33 cards, and *maybe* still the stick of gum. Yum!
Check out the full listing here (affiliate link).
| $5.00 |
End Date: Monday 10/16/2023 11:10:34 EDT
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