Seattle Mariners from 1981 to 1986 you knew him as Hendu.  He was Mari..."/> Seattle Mariners from 1981 to 1986 you knew him as Hendu.  He was Mari..."/> Seattle Mariners from 1981 to 1986 you knew him as Hendu.  He was Mari..."/>

Mariners News: Saying Goodbye to Hendu

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If you followed the Seattle Mariners from 1981 to 1986 you knew him as Hendu.  He was Mariners outfielder Dave Henderson.  We are saddened to hear that Hendu, at 57 years old, has died of a heart attack at Harborview Hospital in Seattle as reported by Greg Johns. He leaves behind his wife Nancy, sons Chase and Trent, and his former wife Loni.  When I first saw it reported by Shannon Drayer my heart sank.

Hendu, as the late Dave Niehaus would affectionately call him,  had many distinguishing features that allowed you to recognize him at the ballpark.  From the large frame, to the gap in his front teeth, to the squinty eyes and the distinct trot he had.  You can say that his features stood out.  But in my humble opinion the most distinguishing thing about him was his infectious smile.  Every time he caught a ball in the outfield it looked like he was smiling.  Even when he struck out he seemed to walk away smiling.

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Hendu was the 1st-round draft pick (26th overall) of the expansion Seattle Mariners in 1977 from Dos Palos (California) High School.  Hendu spent time in the Major Leagues with the Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, and the Kansas City Royals during his 14 year Major League career.  But everywhere he went he was a fan favorite.  He smiled in the field, he smiled in the dugout and out on the bases.  As a friend of mine says, there was nothing not to like about him.

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He wore number 42.  When I think of number 42 in a Seattle Mariners uniform, I think of Hendu.  He wasn’t the last Mariner to wear it, but he was the most impressionable one to wear it before it was retired in 1997 by MLB due to honor Jackie Robinson.  Then Ken Griffey Jr was instrumental in bringing it back out of retirement for players to wear on Jackie Robinson Day.

Hendu’s most remembered moment in the Majors came in the Post Season.  It was this series changing home run for the Boston Red Sox during the 1986 ALCS.

Hendu did win a World Series when he was with the Oakland Athletics in 1989.  That was the “earthquake series” if you recall.  The Oakland Athletics swept the San Francisco Giants in 4 straight.  Dave Henderson also earned a trip to the All-Star game in 1991.

Hendu worked as a color commentator for the Seattle Mariners from 1997 to 2006.  In 2011, he returned to the Mariners’ radio booth as one of a rotating crew of part-time announcers succeeding the deceased Dave Niehaus.

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Hendu’s son Chase has a genetic disorder called Angelman’s Syndrome.  Hendu has spent most of his adult life raising money to support research into this disorder.

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As I think about Dave Henderson and what he meant to me and the Mariners fans that can recall him I can see his smile and his home run trot.  Somewhere in the background is the raspy voice of Dave Niehaus shouting,”My Oh My”.  If Dave Niehaus was here, he would tell you exactly what I am telling you.  Hendu was a class act with an infectious smile that could light up any room he walked into.  He was a positive person with a great disposition.  Our deepest sympathies are with Hendu’s family and friends.