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Keith Hernandez

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Full Name: Keith Hernandez Primary Position: 1B
Height/Weight: 6' 0"/180 First Game: August 30, 1974
Birthdate: October 20, 1953 Final Game: July 24, 1990
Birthplace: San Francisco, California MLB Experience: 17 years
Bat/Throw: Left/Left


Biography

Keith Hernandez was born on October 20, 1953 in San Francisco, California), and attended Capuchino High School and the College of San Mateo (also known as San Mateo Junior College).

Hernandez was drafted by the Cardinals in the 42nd round of the 1971 draft, as the 776th overall player. He quickly rose to the upper echelon in the League. In 1979, he led the league with a .344 batting average, 48 doubles, and 116 runs scored, and went on to share the National League MVP award with Willie Stargell.

Hernandez was quickly given the nickname "Mex," apparently because his teammates, given his surname, believed he was of Mexican descent. They were incorrect—Hernandez is of Spanish descent—but the nickname stuck.

In 1982, the Cardinals won the World Series, defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games. In Game 6, Hernandez and Cardinal catcher Darrell Porter hit home runs in a 13-1 St. Louis victory.

After several disagreements with Cardinal management, Hernandez was traded to the Mets on June 15, 1983. The Cardinals received pitchers Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey in return. While this trade was probably the best in Mets history, it was a terrible one for the Cardinals.

In 1985, Hernandez's cocaine use, which had been the subject of persistent rumors and the chief source of friction between Hernandez and Cards manager Whitey Herzog, became a matter of public record as a result of the Pittsburgh trial of drug dealer Curtis Strange. Hernandez is believed to have stopped using cocaine since.

Hernandez wore uniform number 18 for the first two years of his career. In 1976, he switched to number 37, insisting that his uniform number end with a 7. The Mets had retired number 37 for former manager Casey Stengel, so Hernandez switched to number 17, which he wore for the remainder of his career. His arrival and veteran leadership seemed to give the Mets confidence and credibility. In 1984, his first full season with the team, the Mets improved from a record of 68-94 to 90-72. The Mets finished second behind the Chicago Cubs in 1984 and the Cardinals in 1985, but won the World Series in 1986. The following season, Hernandez was named the first team captain in franchise history.

Hernandez was often compared to New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly. Both had won several Gold Gloves, a batting title and a Most Valuable Player award. Unfortunately, both players also had their careers curtailed by back injuries. Hernandez also suffered from knee and hamstring problems. By 1988, at the age of just 34, Hernandez began a sharp decline, and the Mets chose not to re-sign him after his contract ran out at the close of the 1989 season.

On December 7, 1989, the Cleveland Indians signed Hernandez to a contract, but back injuries led to his appearance in only 43 games in the 1990 season. Hernandez retired after the season.

Post Baseball Career

In 1997 Hernandez was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame. In 2002, in celebration of the Met's 40th anniversary, fans voted Hernandez as the Met's all-time first baseman. However, the voting body for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), was never convinced by Hernandez' qualifications. In 2004, after a nine year period of eligibility, Hernandez failed to garner the requisite 5% of the votes that are necessary to remain on the following year's ballot. Hernandez received 22 votes with the threshold for that year being 25.

Hernandez' last opportunity for Hall of Fame consideration remains with the Veterans Committee, where his name will appear on their ballot no earlier than 2011, which is twenty years from the date of his retirement.

In 1991, Mets pitcher David Cone switched from 44 to 17 in tribute to Hernandez. Former teammates Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda and Roger McDowell all wore number 17 in tribute to Hernandez for teams they played for after leaving the Mets.

Hernandez authored Pure Baseball: Pitch by Pitch for the Advanced Fan, which gives fans a detailed pitch-by-pitch player's look into baseball strategy, and currently serves as the Mets game analyst on SportsNet New York, where he recently found himself in hot water after making inappropriate remarks about the San Diego Padres team trainer, who happened to be female.


Statistics

Batting Stats

Year Team G AB R H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG 2B 3B BB SO HBP SH SB IBB GDP
1974 STL N 14 34 3 10 0 2 .294 .415 .441 1 2 7 8 0 0 0 0 1
1975 STL N 64 188 20 47 3 20 .250 .309 .362 8 2 17 26 0 0 0 2 5
1976 STL N 129 374 54 108 7 46 .289 .376 .428 21 5 49 53 3 2 4 5 8
1977 STL N 161 560 90 163 15 91 .291 .379 .459 41 4 79 88 1 3 7 11 17
1978 STL N 159 542 90 138 11 64 .255 .351 .389 32 4 82 68 2 1 13 11 12
1979 STL N 161 610 116 210 11 105 .344 .417 .513 48 11 80 78 1 0 11 5 9
1980 STL N 159 595 111 191 16 99 .321 .408 .494 39 8 86 73 4 1 14 4 14
1981 STL N 103 376 65 115 8 48 .306 .401 .463 27 4 61 45 2 0 12 6 9
1982 STL N 160 579 79 173 7 94 .299 .397 .413 33 6 100 67 2 1 19 19 10
1983 STL N 55 218 34 62 3 26 .284 .352 .431 15 4 24 30 0 0 1 5 2
1983 NY N 95 320 43 98 9 37 .306 .424 .434 8 3 64 42 2 2 8 9 5
1983 TOT N 150 538 77 160 12 63 .297 .396 .433 23 7 88 72 2 2 9 14 7
1984 NY N 154 550 83 171 15 94 .311 .409 .449 31 0 97 89 1 0 2 12 9
1985 NY N 158 593 87 183 10 91 .309 .384 .430 34 4 77 59 2 0 3 15 14
1986 NY N 149 551 94 171 13 83 .310 .413 .446 34 1 94 69 4 0 2 9 14
1987 NY N 154 587 87 170 18 89 .290 .377 .436 28 2 81 104 4 0 0 8 15
1988 NY N 95 348 43 96 11 55 .276 .333 .417 16 0 31 57 1 0 2 3 11
1989 NY N 75 215 18 50 4 19 .233 .324 .326 8 0 27 39 2 0 0 3 4
1990 CLE A 43 130 7 26 1 8 .200 .283 .238 2 0 14 17 1 0 0 3 2
Total NL 2045 7240 1117 2156 161 1063 .298 .386 .440 424 60 1056 995 31 10 98 127 159
Total AL 43 130 7 26 1 8 .200 .283 .238 2 0 14 17 1 0 0 3 2
Total 2088 7370 1124 2182 162 1071 .296 .384 .436 426 60 1070 1012 32 10 98 130 161

Fielding Stats

Year Team POS G GS INN PO A ERR DP TP PB SB CS PkO AVG
1974 STL N 1B 9 8 76 70 1 2 8 0 0 0 0 0 .973
1975 STL N 1B 56 48 440.1 469 36 2 34 0 0 0 0 0 .996
1976 STL N 1B 110 97 884.2 862 107 10 87 0 0 0 0 0 .990
1977 STL N 1B 158 150 1345 1453 106 12 146 1 0 0 0 0 .992
1978 STL N 1B 158 148 1327.2 1436 96 10 124 0 0 0 0 0 .994
1979 STL N 1B 160 156 1413 1489 146 8 145 0 0 0 0 0 .995
1980 STL N 1B 156 156 1368.1 1572 115 9 146 0 0 0 0 0 .995
1981 STL N 1B 98 97 873.2 1054 86 3 99 1 0 0 0 0 .997
1981 STL N LF 3 2 9 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1981 STL N OF 3 2 9 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1982 STL N LF 2 2 13 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1982 STL N 1B 157 153 1370 1586 135 11 140 0 0 0 0 0 .994
1982 STL N RF 2 2 16 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1982 STL N OF 4 4 29 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1983 STL N 1B 54 53 491.1 581 51 6 62 0 0 0 0 0 .991
1983 NY N 1B 90 89 785.1 837 96 7 85 0 0 0 0 0 .993
1983 TOT N 1B 144 142 1276.2 1418 147 13 147 0 0 0 0 0 .992
1984 NY N 1B 153 152 1338.2 1214 142 8 127 0 0 0 0 0 .994
1985 NY N 1B 157 152 1387 1310 139 4 113 0 0 0 0 0 .997
1986 NY N 1B 149 146 1302 1199 149 5 115 0 0 0 0 0 .996
1987 NY N 1B 154 151 1315.2 1298 149 10 110 0 0 0 0 0 .993
1988 NY N 1B 93 90 767.1 734 77 2 63 0 0 0 0 0 .998
1989 NY N 1B 58 55 473.2 405 31 4 22 0 0 0 0 0 .991
1990 CLE A 1B 42 38 320 340 20 2 28 0 0 0 0 0 .994
Total LF 5 4 22 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
Total OF 7 6 38 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
Total 1B 2012 1939 17279.2 17909 1682 115 1654 2 0 0 0 0 .994
Total RF 2 2 16 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000

Career Highlights

Transactions

  • Selected by St. Louis Cardinals in the 42nd round of the free-agent draft (June 8, 1971).
  • Traded by St. Louis Cardinals to New York Mets in exchange for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey (June 15, 1983).
  • Granted free agency (November 13, 1989).
  • Signed by Cleveland Indians (December 7, 1989).

Trivia

See also

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