George was a first round pick of Oakland in 1968 and had an 18 year career in the Big Show. The best years of his baseball career was spent with the Cardinals from 1978 – 1984. In the 7 years with the Cards he hit 122 home runs and had a batting average of 294. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hendrge01.shtml
When George was drafted there was a comparison to Hank Aaron because he was a wrist hitter and would hit off his front foot. They looked alike except George was tall and very lanky.
I will tell you he danced to his own music and would not give in to others. The press would try to interview him but he cut them off after getting some bad ink, and said he will not talk to writers in the future. He was a man of his word and he did not give anymore interviews.
This is when he was given the name of Silent George! I am pretty sure Jack Buck gave him the name because he would not give him an interview. The nickname was picked up by the press and the Cardinal fans used it when addressing this different kind of guy!
I remember George in a Cardinal uniform as being very entertaining. He would wear his pants all the way down to his spikes; this is when all the players had high socks. You couldn’t help but laugh when you saw him run with his arms up high and pumping like crazy. Then you add in his long and lanky body. Nobody could smile like George, when he would get a double and stand on second base with the big toothy grin, you knew all was right!
Jack Buck was announcing the Cardinals game and George was on first base. Hendrick never took big leads, because he didn’t want to move to fast to get back to the bag. Here is George taking his normal lead, of about 2 feet, and Jack says now George don’t get too far off the bag you will get picked off! Guess what happened, he got picked off! I didn’t like it but you had to laugh, it was good humor!
This man was an outfielder and to watch him pumping his arms and tracking down drives in the gaps was a real treat. George played centerfield and right field for the Cardinals. The memories I have of George is mainly as a right fielder. Most right fielders or should I say all right fielders when leaving their position would jog to the dugout. No not George, he would lumber over to the bullpen, because it was closer! You have to understand he was a different kind of guy! I am sure that he mixed in real well with the bullpen bunch. From what I have read and heard these gentlemen are all a little different also.
The press didn’t really care for George because he quit giving interviews. The fans like him because of George being George! I have heard a lot of former Cardinals speaking of George as a great teammate. I have heard Al Hrabosky say this numerous times.
I have left the best for last! I was at a ballgame and was sitting behind home plate way up at the top. We were playing the Pirates and Big John Candelaria was hurling for Pittsburgh. Things were getting kind of rough, there was some batters being hit by pitches. What ended up happening was Candelaria hit a Cardinal hitter and all heck broke out! I am watching all the action and all of a sudden I see George with a headlock around Pirate Bill Madlock. Here is George with a huge smile on his face and he is acting like he is punching Madlock in the face! Hendrick is about 4 inches taller than Bill and it was a sight! Then after George had his share of Bill in the headlock, it was time to reverse this little event. So next is George in a headlock and Madlock pretending to punch Smiling George in the face! This was excellent humor!
I think I noticed George coaching first base in the Majors and I wish him a lot of luck. He gave a lot of Cardinal fans a reason to smile!