Red Sox Memories: What happened to role players from 1986 team?
Looking back on Boston Red Sox players from the 1986 team
Negative outcomes. A positive can transition into a negative rapidly and the 1986 World Series is representative of that. Elimination of a baseball curse was a ground ball away. The result is now etched in baseball and Boston Red Sox history and lore. The circumstances examined, detailed expounded upon, and fingers pointed. That story is not this story.
The Red Sox had a terrific team in 1986 finishing first in a seven-team division. The Red Sox catapulted into the World Series with a dramatic win over the Angels. The roster had Roger Clemens, Jim Rice, Tom Seaver, and Wade Boggs all destined for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The second layer of talented players had a worthy trio of sluggers. Tony Armas, Don Baylor, and Dwight Evans. But what about the lesser-knowns? The ones that may have stopped by a few games or the entire season? What happened? Where are they now? What have they done post-Red Sox and post-baseball career?
A mid-August trade with Seattle had significant repercussions for the Red Sox. Dave Henderson and Spike Owen came to Boston while Rey Quiñones and two PTBNL traveled west. In the past, I have written about Owen – an intense and highly competitive player, so this time the focus will be on Quiñones and Henderson.
Quiñones was signed out of Puerto Rico in 1983 and by 1986 was the starting shortstop for Boston. Ted Williams compared his swing to that of Frank Robinson. Certainly high praise. The Red Sox soured on Quiñones and it was based on two factors: Perceived poor work habits and a far too close relationship with Oil Can Boyd. The 22-year-old and his .237 average was sent to Seattle.
"“‘Oh, Quinones,” Seattle GM Dick Balderson said in 1991, per SABR. ‘He broke my heart. He had the potential to be the best in the game, but what a strange guy.’”"
By the 1989 season, Quiñones was out of baseball after just four years. His last stop was Pittsburgh where Quiñones hit just .209. His fielding was always of concern so a weak bat could not be balanced by a competent glove, but oh that arm. Quiñones had a remarkably strong arm. Too bad pitching was not given a shot.
Little is known about Quiñones after he departed MLB. At one point a World Series ring he supposedly owned was being auctioned off. A ring he received as a member of the Yankees’ front office. They had no record of Quiñones being employed. Other’s reported Quiñones was operating in dangerous territory back in PR. What I note is Quiñones is another addition to the lengthy list of players who simply failed for a variety of reasons.
Th right-handed hitting Henderson hit just .196 in 36 games with Boston in 1986. In the ALCS series against the Angels, Henderson had just one hit in nine at-bats. That hit, however, is the stuff of dreams. With the Red Sox trailing the Angels 5-4 in the ninth, up stepped Henderson. One on and two outs. With two strikes down Henderson put one out. The Angels tied the game and then lost in extra innings. Boston came back and won the ALCS.
Henderson carried his hot bat into the World Series hitting .400 with a pair of home runs and five RBI. In September of the 1987 season, Henderson was traded to the Giants and eventually ended up with the A’s for several seasons, was named to the All-Star team, and won a ring with the A’s.
Henderson played 14 seasons in the majors hitting .258 with 197 home runs. Henderson’s post-career was successful as a broadcaster for the Mariners, as an agent, and operating fantasy camps. Henderson died in 2015 from a heart attack.
Left-hander Donnie Moore was the victim of Henderson’s dramatic home run and Moore becomes a tragic figure. In a domestic incident in 1989, Moore shot his wife three times and then committed suicide. His wife survived the shooting.
Glenn Hoffman missed almost the entire 1986 season, playing just 12 games and hitting just .217. Once advertised as the Red Sox shortstop of the future he became just that in 1980. The right-hand hitter was just 21-years-old and hit an impressive .285. The more I saw of Hoffman the more he reminded me of another shortstop of the future – Don Buddin.
Hoffman lasted eight seasons with the Red Sox and parts of seasons with the Angels and Dodgers. A career .242 hitter, but his post-baseball career is notable. Hoffman became a long-time coach-manager with the Dodgers including a brief stint as interim manager.
The Red Sox considered hiring Hoffman as manager on two occasions, but Hoffman was reluctant to leave the west coast. Hoffman left the Dodgers but remained in the area as a San Diego Padres coach. Hoffman retired as a coach in 2020 but remains as part of the Friars front office.
In 1986, the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) had a real speed burner playing the outfield. La Schelle Tarver came to the organization with a 1985 offseason trade with the Mets. Tarver was a lefty hitter with virtually no power. Tarver hit just four career home runs in 709 minor league games. My assumption is they were all inside the park jobs.
Tarver was a magnificent outfielder. I believe he finished second in the International League in steals in 1986 with 31 in just 97 games. Boston brought him up twice during the season – his only MLB season – and he hit .120. Tarver could have been the Quintin Berry of 1986.
Tarver’s after baseball life has been noteworthy as he is a corrections officer in Fresno. Tarver will soon retire and enjoy retirement with his wife Debra a nurse. He has his ring and a place in Red Sox history.
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Right-hand hitting Kevin Romine was drafted one in the third round and once in the first. Romine passed until drafted by Boston in the second round in 1982. A native of New Hampshire and Arizona State as a collegian.
I saw Romine in Pawtucket (AAA) in 1984-1985 and he was a steady outfielder with some sting in his bat. Strongarm. Mature as you would expect from college. In Boston Romine was the perfect reserve outfielder. Dependable glove at all three slots and the occasional key hit.
In 1986, as with a good portion of his career of six years with the Red Sox, Romaine took the I-95 route between Pawtucket and Boston. For Boston, it was 35 games hitting .257 and a brief appearance in the ALCS. For his career, Romaine hit .257 and was done after the 1990 season. A career highlight was a 5-5 game. Romaine later became a police detective in Los Angeles.
Mike Stenhouse had a local connection since he was drafted by the Expos in the first round (1980) out of Harvard. The Cranston, Rhode Island native was a left-hand hitter who had back-to-back 25 home run seasons for Wichita (AAA). Boston picked up Stenhouse in a minor trade in the offseason with the idea of a solid bat off the bench.
The solid part was just not there as Stenhouse hit just .095 and .125 as a pinch hitter. Not the kind of numbers that provide job security and Stenhouse was gone by late July to Pawtucket. The following season Stenhouse was in the Tigers organization and that was it. Stenhouse later spent time in the broadcast booth for both the Expos and PawSox. Stenhouse in 2011 started the Freedom and Prosperity think tank in Cranston of which he is the CEO.
Left-hander Joe Sambito worked 53 games out of the Red Sox bullpen in 1986. Samito had been a reliable hurler out of the Astros bullpen for several seasons including making the 1977 All-Star team. The Red Sox eventually got Sambito after he failed at Houston and with the Mets. Still post Tommy John Surgery recovery, but he earned a roster spot for 1986.
Examining the statistics for 1986 shows two numbers: The first is .368 and the second is .200. The right/left splits. Sambito also had 12 saves that memorable season and no blown saves. After a disappointing 1987 (2-6, 6.93) Sambito called it a career. Post career has been as an agent and player representative.
These are just a few that passed through the clubhouse and played a role in the 1986 title. If only that scoreboard at Shea Stadium had not lied. Still, it was a memorable season and not just for the fans.