A former number one pick in the nation, George Hendrick, a four-time All-Star, had good power and was a solid defender. In 1979, George tallied 20 outfield assists and he was also good for 20 homeruns a season. A journeyed player, better known for his 100 RBI seasons with the Cardinals in the early 1980s, Hendrick played for two World Series winners: the 1972 Oakland A’s and the 1982 Cardinals.
Originally selected by the Oakland A’s as the first pick in the 1968 January draft, Hendrick rocketed through the A’s system and made his Major League debut in 1971. After his dismal 1972 season, in which he won a World Series ring, the A’s traded him to the Cleveland Indians for catcher Ray Fosse. The A’s gave up on George too soon as he found his groove in Cleveland. His first year as an Indian, George blasted 21 long balls despite missing action with a broken wrist.
Hendrick made his first All-Star team in 1974 as the Indians center fielder. He finished second in homeruns among AL center fielders, while raising his batting average up to .279. The next four years, George would rocket at least 20 balls over the fences. He blasted 24 in 1975 (his second All-Star season) and in 1976 his 25 homers tied Hall of Famer Jim Rice for most homeruns by an AL left fielder. Shifted back to center field in 1977, George was the only National League center fielder to blast 20 homeruns–after his trade to the Padres.
After a shaky start to the ’78 season the Padres dealt George to the Cardinals in a lopsided trade for pitcher Eric Rasmussen. He established himself as a solid run-producer for the Redbirds. St. Louis had a terrific offensive attack in 1979 as they boasted the roster with the most .300 hitters in the NL. Teaming with George were fellow .300 hitters Lou Brock, Keith Hernandez, Ken Oberkfell and Garry Templeton. With such a solid offensive cast around him, George was able to reach 109 RBI in 1980. His total was good for second in the senior circuit.
After the strike shortened ’81 campaign, Hendrick had another 100 RBI season for the Cardinals. In that season’s World Series, George hit .321 with five RBI. He made his final All-Star appearance in 1983 when he hit .318 rotating between the outfield and first base. When his power mysteriously vanished in 1984, George was involved in another lopsided trade–this time he was the lemon. St. Louis picked up catcher Brian Harper and southpaw John Tudor, whose amazing pitching carried St. Louis to the World Series.
With his bat seemingly dead, the Pirates made a youth movement trade when they sent George and fellow veterans John Candelaria and Al Holland to the Angels for three youngsters, the best of which was Bob Kipper. George refound his stroke in 1986 as he hit .272 with 14 homeruns but an injury in 1987 kept him off the field and he played just one more year after that.
G 2,048/R 941/H 1,980/2B 343/3B 27/HR 267/RBI 1,111/SB 59/BB 567/SO 1,013/BA .278/SA .446/OBP .329