SAN FRANCISCO -- Oakland Athletics outfielder Dave Henderson has learned that nothing is ever a certainty, whether it be life or baseball.
Henderson ripped a pair of solo homers and a two-run double Friday night, lifting the A's to a 13-7 triumph over the San Francisco Giants and giving Oakland an overwhelming 3-0 lead in the 1989 World Series.
But Henderson has been there before and come away empty.
'I wouldn't say the Giants are dead,' said Henderson, when asked if he thought the Series was over. 'We still have to win one more game. When we win that game then the Giants will be dead.'
Henderson has been one of baseball's bittersweet figures the last four years.
There was the numbing, seemingly senseless World Series loss in 1986 as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Henderson thought he had hit what appeared to be the Series-winning home run in the 10th inning of Game 6. But the New York Mets rallied to win the game and take the Series in seven.
'I think 1986 left a real bad taste in my mouth,' Henderson said. 'It felt like we didn't get beat, we gave it away.'
Then there is the frustration of sitting on the sidelines and watching the San Francisco Giants fall short in the 1987 National League Championship Series. Henderson was picked up by the Giants in a trade with the Red Sox after the Series roster deadline and could not play.
'Sometimes I think about what might have been,' Henderson said. 'I would have gotten those pinch hits against Ken Dayley (each played a role in a St. Louis Cardinal win) instead of Chris Speier. I wonder what I could have done.'
Then there is last year's nearly inexplicable collapse against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. Henderson hit .300, but drove in just one run.
'Last year I was on a mission to make up for 1986 and came up short,' he said. 'I want to make up for that this year. I don't want to be known as a guy who lost three World Series.'
And then there was the suicide of Donnie Moore, a pitcher with whom Henderson will be forever linked thanks to a fateful home run in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS. With two outs in the ninth and trailing in the ALCS 3-1, Henderson ripped a two-strike homer that lifted the Red Sox to victory. Boston rallied to win the ALCS, 4-3.
'Of course (I think about Moore),' Henderson said. 'All the TV shows, the writing. He was one of us. He was a baseball player. I've talked to a lot of people and the home run was just one of the things wrong with him.'
Henderson says he's learned one thing from his trials -- keep life simple.
'I think I simplify things,' he said. 'I just boil it (pressure situations) down to me either getting a hit or making an out.'
Even his homers were a matter of the simple rule of baseball.
'I think anytime you hit a home run it was a bad pitch,' he said. 'Baseball is pretty simple, make a good pitch you get me out. Make a bad pitch and I hit a home run.'