Keith Hernandez Top 10 career moments

NEW YORK – Few baseball players have managed to not only maintain their popularity over the decades, but also develop it like Keith Hernandez has. Several generations have come to adore Hernandez, from the Cardinals and Mets fans who watched him in his prime to the millions who first knew him as a broadcaster.

For more than half a century as a multi-faceted baseball man, Hernandez has enjoyed his fair share of memorable moments and successes. Here are the Top 10:

1. World Series dramas

By 1982, Hernandez was already an MVP and established star in St. Louis, but he had never appeared in the playoffs. That changed when the Cardinals swept the Braves in the National League Championship Series, setting up a World Series clash with the Brewers.

In seven games, Hernandez scored eight points, a series high, including some of the most important of the Fall Classic in a two-run single against Bob McClure in the sixth inning of Game 7. Moments after the hit Sure of Hernandez, the Cardinals took the lead on a single from George Hendrick, putting the St. Louis star first baseman on the cusp of his first ring.

2. … and another time in October

Hernandez wasn’t immediately so impactful on his return to the World Series, hitting .227 with an RBI in his first six games in 1986. He was 0-for-2 in Game 7 when he was arrived at home base loaded and changed that narrative, throwing a two-run single down center-left to provide the first runs for Red Sox starter Bruce Hurst. Much like in 1982, the next hitter tied the score, putting Hernandez on track for his second championship in five years.

In all respects the 1979 season was Hernandez’s best on the plate. After a few successful but less than transcendent campaigns as a St. Louis first baseman, Hernandez erupted with a .344 league-leading average and a career-high 105 RBIs. He also led the NL with 48 doubles and 116 runs scored, while producing nine home runs and a .930 OPS.

While Hernandez has clearly outpaced Pirate slugger Willie Stargell by most measures widely accepted today, including a bWAR total that more than tripled that of his rival, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America credited the pair with the same number of points in the MVP vote. The result was the first and only draw in the history of the award, resulting in co-MVP honors for Hernandez and Stargell.

4. “I am Keith Hernandez”

As he racked up successes on the field, Hernandez rose to stardom, especially when he moved to New York City on a trade in 1983. Two years after his retirement from baseball in 1990 , Hernandez played himself in a multi-part feature film of “Seinfeld” titled “The Boyfriend”. In the plot of the series, Hernandez began dating Elaine Benes (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus), which resulted in a famous scene in which he debated bending over for a kiss.

“Who does this guy think he is for?” Elaine thought out loud as Hernandez took action.

“I’m Keith Hernandez,” was the unspoken answer – a famous phrase that later became the title of his autobiography.

5. Extraordinary diffuser

Hernandez’s post-retirement life entered a new arena in 1999, when he began serving as a guest analyst for the Mets shows. He quickly became a regular at MSG, and when the Mets founded their own television network in 2006, Hernandez joined Gary Cohen and Ron Darling to form one of baseball’s most popular stands.

Known both for his scathing criticism and for his wandering thoughts – “Keith-isms” as they have come to be known – Hernandez quickly became as popular with young fans as he was with a generation before over the course of time. from his playing years. Slogans such as “good seafood” and “rib eye steak” have become standard on SNY, where Hernandez won Emmys for his work in 2009, 2012 and 2015.

6. “They will remember this business for years to come”

While Hernandez is better known these days as a Met than Cardinal, it hasn’t always been that way. The first baseman was admittedly devastated when St. Louis sent him to New York on a trade in 1983; he had spent the first nine and a half years of his career in Missouri, putting down roots there while winning both an MVP and a World Series. The idea of ​​leaving the defending champions for a team that hadn’t produced a winning record since 1976 was initially unappealing.

But pitcher Neil Allen, who delivered the above quote when joining Rick Ownbey in the Cardinals’ comeback package, has been far-sighted. The trade ended up being a blow to the Mets, as Hernandez helped form a core that included Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter and others. The Mets quickly established themselves as contenders, and within a year of the trade Hernandez signed a five-year, $ 8.4 million contract – considered rich enough at the time – to stay in New York in the long run.

On July 22, 1986, in a savage game against the Reds, Hernandez made an ultra-rare 3-5-4 double play, hopping on a Carl Willis decay and shooting at third base to start the double kill. That sort of thing seemed routine for Hernandez, who retired with 11 golden gloves – the most by a first baseman in MLB history.

Often times, Hernandez’s mere presence at first base discouraged teams from bunting, given both his speed and powerful throwing arm. He retired with a career deployment percentage of .994, while advanced measures that can be applied retroactively, such as defensive warfare, also appreciated.

Shortly after Hernandez led the Mets to a title in 1986, general manager Frank Cashen named him the first captain in franchise history. Credited with much of the cultural transformation the Mets underwent throughout the 1980s, Hernandez held the role alone for a season before Gary Carter became his co-captain in 1988. The two went on to direct together. for two years before leaving the organization.

Hernandez’s cycle – the fourth in Mets history – was almost an afterthought on a wild evening of July 4, 1985 that saw the Mets and Braves suffer a long rain delay and play a 19-game. innings that lasted until 3:55 am. his personal contributions, Hernandez doubled in the first, trebled in the fourth, had a homer in the eighth and a single in the 12th. His other six (!) At-bat appearances were unsuccessful as Hernandez finished 4-10 in a game won by the Mets, 16-13.

Almost as much as for his accomplishments on and off the pitch, Hernandez has gained long-standing fame for his mustache. Wearing it proudly for nearly four decades, he even became a longtime spokesperson for the Just For Men company, showcasing his jet black mustache alongside that of basketball legend Walt Frazier.

Hernandez’s mustache had turned white in 2012, when he shaved it off to raise funds for a Brooklyn health center named after his mother, Jacquelyn, who died of Alzheimer’s in 1989. At At the time, Hernandez had only shaved his mustache a handful of times in his adult life, and not at all since 1988 – a period of almost a quarter of a century. After a clean shaven few years after fundraising, Hernandez ended up pushing her away.

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