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Steven Curtis Henderson (born November 18, , in ) is a former Major League Baseball left fielder who is best remembered for being one of the players the New York Mets acquired in the infamous "Midnight Massacre."

Cincinnati Reds

Henderson was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the fifth round of the 1974 Major League Baseball Draft out of Prairie View A&M Universitymarker. After leading the Eastern League with 158 hits, eleven triples and 255 total bases, and batting .312 in for the Reds' double A affiliate, the Trois-Rivieres Aigles, he was batting .326 for the triple A Indianapolis Indians in at the time of his trade to New Yorkmarker.

"Midnight Massacre"

Tom Seaver was in a contract dispute with New York Mets chairman M. Donald Grant when on June 15, 1977 Grant traded Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Dan Norman and Henderson. Dave Kingman was also traded to the San Diego Padres for minor league pitcher Paul Siebert and Bobby Valentine. Somewhat more quietly that day, they also acquired Joel Youngblood from the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Phillips.

He debuted with the Mets the following day as a pinch runner for Ed Kranepool, and his first major league run was the tying run in the Mets' 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros. On June 21, facing the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadiummarker, Kranepool hit a ninth inning home run off Andy Messersmith to send the game into extra innings. Following a one out double by John Stearns in the 11th inning, the Braves intentionally walked Felix Millan to get to Henderson. The strategy didn't work, as Henderson connected for a three run walk off home run.

For the season, Henderson had a .297 batting average in 99 games and 350 at-bats with twelve home runs, 65 runs batted in, 67 runs, 104 hits, sixteen doubles, six triples, six stolen bases, 43 base on balls, and four sacrifice flies. He finished second to Andre Dawson of the Montreal Expos in National League Rookie of the Year balloting by only one point (10 to 9).

In January 1980, the Payson heirs sold the Mets franchise to the Doubleday publishing company for $21.1 million. Nelson Doubleday, Jr. was named chairman of the board while minority shareholder Fred Wilpon took the role of club president. On February 28, , eager to make right with a fan base that had become disenfranchised with the team, the Mets sent Henderson and cash to the Chicago Cubs in order to reacquired Dave Kingman. In separate deals, the new organization also reacquired Rusty Staub, and two seasons later, Tom Seaver. For his Mets career, Henderson batted .287 with 35 home runs and 227 RBIs.

Chicago Cubs

Henderson batted .293 with five home runs and 35 RBIs during the strike shortened season. His production fell off considerably the following season, as he batted only .233, and found himself sharing playing time in left field with Keith Moreland and Jay Johnstone. Following the season, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners for Rich Bordi.

Oakland A's

After two seasons in Seattlemarker, Henderson and Kingman became teammates when Henderson signed as a free agent with the Oakland Athletics on March 31, . Batting only .077 for the season, he was released by the A's on May 29, . He signed with the Chicago White Sox shortly afterwards, and spent the remainder of the season with their triple a affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, where he batted .288 with five home runs. The ChiSox released him at the end of the season. Henderson then signed again with the A's for , and split the season between them and their triple A affiliate, the Tacoma Tigers.

Houston Astros

Henderson signed a minor league deal with the Houston Astros for . After splitting the season between the Astros and their triple A affiliate, the Tucson Toros, Henderson was released during the off season. He played the entire season for the Buffalo Bisons, who were now a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate, before retiring. Following his retirement, he won the Senior Professional Baseball Association championship with the St. Petersburg Pelicans.

Games AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO HBP Avg. Slg. OBP
1085 3484 459 976 162 49 68 428 79 58 386 677 13 .280 .413 .352
Henderson finished in the top ten in the National League in OBP twice during his career.

Post playing career

Henderson served as a coach in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system from through . He moved to the Houston Astros organization in , and served as their hitting coach from to .

He moved to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization in , serving as hitting coach during their inaugural season and from to , making the first trip of his baseball career to the post season in . He was relieved of his duties as hitting coach of the Tampa Bay Rays on October 5, 2009.

He and his wife, Pam, reside in . He graduated with degrees in Multimedia and Political Science from McMaster Universitymarker in .

References

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