Oct 21, 2014

Remembering Mets History: (1988) NLCS Game #1 Mets vs Dodgers

Tuesday October 4th,1988 NLCS Game #1 - Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California / Attendance : 55,582

Davey Johnson's Mets had won their second divisional title in three years & were the heavy favorite going into the post season. The Mets had won 100 games (100-60) & dominated the Dodgers in the regular season. 

Darryl Strawberry led the NL in HRs (39) that season as well as slugging %. Wally Backman was the only Met in the starting line up that had hit over .300. Howard Johnson was establishing himself as a true slugger & veterans Gary Carter & Keith Hernandez were entering the twilight's of their careers.

The '88 Mets staff had twenty game winner; David Cone (20-3) as well as Dwight Gooden (18-9) Ron Darling (17-9) Sid Fernandez (12-10) & Bobby Ojeda (10-13). In the bullpen closer Randy Meyers had 26 saves. 


Meanwhile Tommy Lasorda's Dodgers had gone 94-67 finishing seven games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds. This was a team of destiny, as they shocked the Mets & then the might Oakland A's in the World Series. Orel Hershiser was the Cy Young winner (23-8 / 2.26 ERA) & the offense was led by Kirk Gibson 25 HRs 76 RBIs & .290 average. Although his numbers were no where near Strawberry's he won the NL MVP Award that year????


New York Mets
       
Los Angeles Dodgers
1Mookie WilsonCF
1Steve Sax2B
2Gregg Jefferies3B
2Franklin Stubbs1B
3Keith Hernandez1B
3Kirk GibsonLF
4Darryl StrawberryRF
4Mike MarshallRF
5Kevin McReynoldsLF
5John ShelbyCF
6Howard JohnsonSS
6Mike SciosciaC
7Gary CarterC
7Jeff Hamilton3B
8Wally Backman2B
8Alfredo GriffinSS
9Dwight GoodenP
9Orel HershiserP

 
The Dodgers began the scoring first; in bottom of the 1st inning, Steve Sax singled & stole second base. He would score on a Mike Marshall base hit. 

Gooden rolled along holding the Dodgers down, striking out ten batters until the 7th inning. Catcher; Mike Scioscia led of with a double & was brought in on Alfredo Griffin's base hit. Gooden went seven innings, allowing the two runs, four hits & just one walk.

Mean while, Orel Hershiser had shut out the Mets, striking out six & allowing just four hits going into the 9th inning.

 But in the 9th the Mets struck. Greg Jefferies led off with a base hit & was moved over to second base. Darryl Strawberry followed with a double to center field, bring home Jefferies making it 2-1. 

Tommy Lasorda removed Hershiser & brought in Jay Howell to pitch. Howell walked Kevin McReynolds & then struck out Howard Johnson . 

With two outs & the winning runs on base, Gary Carter stepped in & delivered with a line drive double to center field. Both runners scored & he Mets now had a 3-2 lead. Carter's runs proved to be the game winner, as Rabdy Meyers closed out the 9th inning.

Early Eighties Mets Reliever & One of the Top Closers of His Era: Jeff Reardon (1979-1981)

Jeffrey James Reardon was born October 1, 1955 at Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The six foot right hander was signed to a minor league deal out of the University of Massachusetts with the New York Mets in 1977.

He won 17 games at AA Jackson the next season getting pushed up to the next AAA level. He was 5-2 with five saves & a 2.09 ERA, at AAA Tidewater in 1979.

He made his MLB debut in June 1979 earning a win in his first game, pitching one inning relief against the Atlanta Braves. He was back down in Tidewater after that game returning to Shea Stadium at the end of August. Reardon earned his first career save on September 28th against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first game of a double header. In 18 appearances he earned two saves posting a 1.74 ERA going 1-1 for the '79 Mets.

In 1980 he returned to the Mets staff as a reliever, but the closer position was held down by Neil Allen at the time. On May 5th he earned his first win when Ron Hodges doubled in the bottom of the 10th for a walk off hit against the Cincinnati Reds.

By the All Star break he was 4-4 with three blown saves to his credit. In ten July appearances, he only allowed runs in two of those games. One was a five run nightmare where he took the loss to the Montreal Expos.

In August, Reardon allowed earned runs in three of his twelve outings, going 2-2 with a pair of saves. On September 29th, he pitched four innings of scoreless relief against the Pittsburgh Pirates & got the win when Joel Youngblood hit a walk off HR.

Reardon pitched well showing a lot of promise for the future going 8-7 with six saves while posting a 2.61 ERA & getting credit for two holds. He struck out 101 batters in 110 innings pitched, he finished 33 games which was sixth most in the league.

In 1981 the year began on a sour note when he blew a 1-1 tie in the 8th inning of the third game of the season, as the Mets went on to a 3-1 loss. His ERA was up around eight as he closed out the month of April. He appeared in just 18 games going 1-0 with two saves, for the Mets, striking out 28 batters in 28 innings by May 29th.

The Mets had Allen as their closer & were in need of an outfielder with some power. They made a deal with the Montreal Expos sending Reardon along with Dan Norman to the Montreal Expos in exchange for Ellis Valentine. The deal did not work out as planned, Valentine batted just .207 in 48 games the rest of the year. In 1982 he did bat .288 but only hit 8 HRs in 111 games.

In Montreal, Reardon immediately became the Expo closer, going 3-0 with eight saves for the rest of the strike shortened 1981 season. He got to his first post season, with a good Expos team that season.

Post Season: In the 1981 NLDS, he got credit for a save in the first playoff win in the franchise’s history. Reardon save both Games One & Two of the 1981 NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies, but then took a loss in Game #4.

As the Expos advanced Reardon pitched one game of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reardon would become one of the league’s best relief pitchers over the next five years, saving 20 or more games each year, earning the nickname “ The Terminator”.

In 1985 he led the N.L. with 41 saves posting a 2-8 record with a 3.18 ERA. He made his first of four All Star appearances that season & won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award. In 1986 he saved 35 games, going 7- with 62 appearances & a 3.94 ERA. In the 1986/1987 off season he was traded to the Minnesota Twins, along with Tom Nieto for Neal Heaton, Yorkis Perez and Jeff Reed.

He would save 31 games (2nd in the league) for the 1987 World Champion Twins, going 8-8 with 83 strikeouts in 80 innings posting a 4.48 ERA. He appeared in four games of the ALCS earning two saves against the Detroit Tigers, including one in the final Game #5 clincher.

He allowed three runs in five innings of work. He earned one save in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, it came in Game #7 when he pitched a perfect 9th inning in relief of Frank Viola giving Minnesota it’s first ever Championship.

Reardon returned in 1988 making history be becoming the first pitcher to save 40 games in both leagues. His 42 saves & 58 games finished were second best in the A.L.as he posted his personal best ERA while pitching in the American League at 2.41.

For the third straight season he posted a perfect .1000 fielding % as well. He saved 31 more games the next year (second in the AL once again) going 5-4 but then left Minnesota to sign with his home town Boston Red Sox as a free agent for 1990.

In Boston he went 9-3 with 21 saves and a 3.16 ERA his first season there, as the Red Sox won the A.L. East. They lost to the Oakland A’s in the ALCS and Reardon was roughed up for two runs & three hits in two innings work.

The next season he saved 40 games for the third time in his career ( fourth best in the AL) and in 1992 passed Rollie Fingers for the most saves on the all time list. That record was broken the next year by Lee Smith.

That same 1992 season, he was nearing the end of his contract; & on August 30th he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for their stretch run. He went 3-0 with three saves posting a 1.15 ERA in 14 appearances, helping Atlanta win their second straight Western Divisional Title.

Post Season: He appeared in five post season games getting a save in the NLCS against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game #4. In the World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays he allowed a top of the 9th inning two run HR to Ed Sprague in Game #2 which ended up being the game winning runs.

Reardon signed a one year deal with the Cincinnati Reds for 1993, and then finished out his career in New York with the A.L. team in 1994.

He retired at age 39 finishing a 16 season career with 367 saves (7th all time) going 73-77 with 877 strike outs in 1132 innings pitched. Reardon finished 695 games (7th most all time) & made 880 appearances (31st all time). He has posted a 3.16 ERA (230th all time). 

Retirement: After baseball he & his family moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida just a few blocks from his former Expo team mate; Gary Carter.

In 2004 Reardon’s son; Shane, tragically died from a drug overdose. The tragedy destroyed the former MLB pitcher. Reardon fell into a depression & did not leave his house for months. He  soon became addicted to anti depressants & mood stabilizers.

On the day after Christmas 2005, he robbed a jewelry store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida while leaving his younger son unattended at his pent house suite.

Quotes: Jeff Reardon: "Because I was taking these heavy psychotic drugs when this heart thing happened, I guess the mixture of it, kind of sent me nuts. I don't remember one minute of that day. All I remember is the cops pointing the guns at me. That's all I remember."

Reardon was arrested but eventually found not guilty due to insanity over his child’s loss & his drug addictions. He was also not required to be committed.

Today he is doing much better & still on the long road to recovery. Although he will never get over the loss of his middle child, he is now closer to his other two children.

Honors: He was on hand for the 50th anniversary of Twins baseball events in Minneapolis.

Mets Relief Pitcher: Carlos Torres (2013-2014)

Carlos Ephriam Torres was born on October 22, 1982 in Santa Cruz California.

The six foot one right handed pitcher attended Kansas State University & San Jose State University, getting drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 15th round of the 2004 draft.

He began as a starting pitcher but by the time he got to AA ball he was becoming more of a full time reliever. In 2009 he made 20 starts at AAA Charlotte & pitched a rain shortened five inning game against Pawtucket. He went 10-4 that season getting a call up to the White Sox big league team.

He debuted on July 22nd, pitching six innings & allowing three runs to the Tampa Rays, earning no decision in the 4-3 win. On September 3rd he pitched five shut out innings against the Cubs in an interleague Chicago matchup, earning his first career win.

On the year he was 1-2 in eight appearances posting a high 6.04 ERA. He appeared in just five games at the big league level in 2010 & then

In 2011 he went to pitch in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants. He then signed a one year deal with the Colorado Rockies for 2012. He made 31 appearances going 5-3 while finishing up none games. He once again had a high ERA at 5.26 while walking 26 batters in 28 innings. He was granted free agency & signed with the New York Mets.

In 2013 Torres began the year at AAA Las Vegas where he went 6-3 as a starting pitcher. He tossed two complete games, struck out 67 batters while walking just 19 in 71 innings pitched, posting a 3.89 ERA. His improvement earned him a call up to a Mets bullpen that was constantly changing in the middle relief department.

Torres made his Mets debut on June 16th pitching two scoreless innings in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. On June 21st his perfect 8th inning, earned him a hold against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

 The next night, he served up a walk off HR to Kevin Frandsen taking the loss. On July 13th, he made his first Mets start, coming at Pittsburgh where he earned no decision in the 4-2 loss. His five innings of one run baseball got him another start in the rotation. 

On July 23rd he went six innings, holding down the Atlanta Braves to one run at Citi Field, striking out six batters. He earned the win in the 4-1 game. His next start against the Nats in Washington was a disaster, giving up eight runs on nine hits in just three innings, in a 14-1 debacle of a loss. By the end of July he was moved into the bullpen as Jenry Mejia was put into the starting rotation.

On August 2nd, he entered a 2-2 tied game against the Kansas City Royals at Citi Field. He pitched two scoreless innings earning the win, when Eric Young Jr. blasted a walk off two run HR. On August 10th in his fourth straight relief effort he earned a hold in the 4-1 Mets win over the D-backs in Arizona.

He was placed into the starting rotation on August 29th, after Matt Harvey was finished for the year with an injury. Torres pitched into the 7th inning, earning a win over the Philadelphia Phillies. In September he went 0-3 losing to the Braves in Atlanta, Washington & Miami at home. On the season he was 4-6 with a 3.44 ERA in 33 appearances.

In 2014 Torres started out with a busy April. He earned two quick victories in the first two weeks of the year. He ended the month with a save & four holds with a 1.29 ERA. In May & June he took four losses but earned one win. After that he won three straight decisions & ended July with a 5-4 record, two saves & a 3.03 ERA.In September he was once again a relief work horse, coming in second on the club in appearances for the season.

He was credited with six holds, as well as two more victories. Coming in late relief he was credited with a win in Miami on September 3rd, as a Travis d'Arnaud double & Dilson Herrera ground scored Lucas Duda with the winning run 4-3. 

On September 8th, Curtis Granderson's RBI triple tied up the game in the bottom of the 9th inning. Then Wilmer Flores' sac fly won it, walk off style over Latroy Hawkins & the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. In 2014 he went 7-5 with a 3.02 ERA, 93 Ks & 35 walks in 70 appearances.
                                   

Mid Seventies Mets Pitcher: Randy Tate (1975)

Randall Lee Tate was born October 23, 1952 in Florence, Alabama. The tall six foot three right hander was drafted by the New York Mets in the fifth round of the 1972 draft.

In 1973 at A ball Pompano Beach he went 4-10, then in 1974 was 9-11 between A ball & AAA. He was expected to do a lot for the Mets and was thrown into the 1975 starting rotation as an inexperienced rookie.

Tate debuted on April 14th 1975 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia in the  fifth game of the season. In his first start he pitched eight innings against the Phillies, allowing three runs on three hits earning no decision. On April 20th in his first start at Shea, got his first victory, beating the Chicago Cubs 4-3 led by a Dave Kingman two run HR.

Tate lost his next three decisions & six of his next seven by the end of June. On June 28th he had his best day, allowing two runs on four hits as he pitched a complete game victory against Philadelphia at Shea Stadium.

On August 4th he had a no hitter going into the 8th inning against the Montreal Expos. But Jim Lyttle ruined the bid with a pinch hit base hit.

Tate surrendered a walk & then Gary Carter drove in the first run. Former Met Mike Jorgensen drove in the next run & Tate wound up with a 4-3 loss. On August 26th he earned his final career victory, pitching a two run complete game win at San Diego.

In 1976 he was back at AAA Tidewater but fell to 7-14 with a 6.20 ERA. He was demoted down to A ball where he improved to 11-8 with a 3.57 ERA at Lynchburg. In 1978 he had one last shot in the Pittsburgh Pirate organization but tore his rotator cuff which ended his career 26.

Overall in 23 games he went 5-13 with 99 strikeouts 86 walks and a 4.45 ERA.

Trivia: Randy goes down in history as being the only player to ever record 47 plate appearances and never get a hit. He is one of the worst hitters ever, going 0-41 with one walk. The one time he got on base he tried to steal a base, getting thrown out at second.

Former New Jersey Born Italian / American Player: Mike Colangelo (1999-2002)

Michael Gus Colangelo was born on October 22nd, 1976 in Teaneck, New Jersey. The family moved to Virginia where Colangelo attended High School & George Mason University at Fairfax.

The six foot one right handed hitter, was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 21st round of the 1997 amateur draft. He began his career at A ball Cedar Rapids in 1998 batting .277. In 1999 he jumped from AA Eries to AAA Edmonton after batting .339 in 28 games. At Edmonton he continued his hitting, batting .362 in 26 games.

He was brought up to the big leagues, making his debut on June 13th, batting leadoff & playing left field. He was brought up to fill in a roster spot, & made the best of it. He got a base hit off Omar Dahl, in his first NLB at bat. He went 1-3 that day, with a walk in a 3-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

But he suffered a major set back, getting injured & missing all of the 2000 season. He was placed on waivers, going to Arizona & then the San Diego Padres.

He got to the Padres big league club in late April, getting two hits & two RBIs in first Padre game, a 12-7 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. He got six hits in first four games & was batting .429. On May 10th he hit a two run HR, off Tom Glavine in a 6-5 win over the Atlanta Braves. On June 20thhe was batting .274 & was sent back to the minors, returning in September. On September 7th, he had his biggest moment, hitting a solo HR off the Diamondbacks; Greg Swindell, breaking a 3-3 tie to win the game.

He played 50 games for the fourth place Padres, batting .242 with two HRs, two doubles, 8 RBIs & a .310 on base %. He was granted free agency & got signed by the Oakland Athletics.

He began the year with the A's but was hitting .240 with no HRs or RBIs after twenty games & was sent to AAA Sacramento. His last two games were in New York, against the AL New York club, just a few miles from his birth town of Teaneck, NJ. He got into the game, in the 9th inning of both of those two games.

He would go the Toronto Blue Jays organization (2003) & play three years in the Florida Marlins organization at AAA Albuquerque (2004-2006). In 2004 he batted .325 with 16 HRs & 73 RBIs for the Isotopes.

Colangelo never got back to the big leagues, in a short three year career he batted .233 with two HRs, four doubles & eight RBIs in 71 games. He played 60 games in various outfield positions.
 
In his minor league career, he played eight seasons batting .298 with 56 HRs 138 doubles & 293 RBIs in 606 games.

Retirement: Mike Colangelo now runs a baseball camp in Virginia.

Honors: A Pizzeria in Woodridge, New Jersey proudly displays an autograph of Colangelo, recognizing his career.

Oct 20, 2014

Remembering Mets History: 1986 World Series Games Three & Four- Mets Take Two At Fenway Park

Tuesday October 21st, 1986 World Series Game #3: After losing the first two games of the World Series at Shea Stadium, the favored Mets were shocked being down two games to none.

The World Series moved to Boston for the next three games, starting Tuesday night a sell out of 33,595 filled Fenway Park. 

Davey Johnson's winningest pitcher of 1986; Bobby Ojeda (18-5 / 2.57 ERA / .783 Win % best in the NL) got the ball against his old team, facing Red Sox pitcher; Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd (16-10 / 129 Ks / 3.78 ERA). 


Starting Lineups


The Met bats finally woke up, in the 1st inning Lenny Dykstra lead off the game with a HR. Ironically it was the third time a Mets  player led off a World Series Game #3 with a HR. Tommie Agee did it in the 1969 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles at Shea & Wayne Garrett did it off Catfish Hunter & the Oakland A's in the 1973 World Series. 

Next, Wally Backman & Keith Hernandez both singled, then "the Kid"; Gary Carter blasted a double off the left field Green Monster, driving in Backman, making it 2-0 Mets.

Ray Knight grounded to third and Hernandez broke for the plate, he was caught in a run down play. Wade Boggs blew the tag, then missed Carter at second and everyone was safe. Danny Heep was getting a rare start as he became the first official Mets Designated hitter. He then singled brining in two more runs, making it 4-0 New York.

Gary Carter had gone 2-4 in the first two Series games at Shea Stadium. He drove in a run in the 9-3 Game #2 loss as well. He had been the hero of Game # 3 in the NLCS with a walk off RBI base hit.

In the 6th inning of World Series Game #3, the bases were loaded as Rafael Santana & Lenny Dykstra singled. Wally Backman then drew a two out walk.

Next, Gary Carter continued his big night, as he drove in two more runs with his second double of the night. Straw singled in the 8th to be driven in by Ray Knights double for the seventh run.

Bobby Ojeda rolled along going seven innings, allowing just one
run on five hits, while striking out six Red Sox. Roger McDowell came in relief & pitched two perfect innings, as the Mets won it 7-1. They were now back in the Series two games to one.


Wednesday October 22nd, 1986 -World Series Game #4:


 Starting Lineups

The next night, in Game #4, Local boy; Ron Darling (15-6 / 2.81 ERA / 184 Ks) got a chance to pitch in the region he grew up in, against the team he rooted for. Another Fenway sellout of 33,920 came out on a cool New England night, as Manager John McNamarra sent Al Nipper (10-12 / 5.38 ERA) to the mound for the Red Sox.

After taking a rough 1-0 loss in Game #1, Darling would get offensive support in Game #4.

It was another big night for " the Kid"- Gary Carter. Carter would collect three hits & blast a pair of HRs, driving in three runs. These nights were the icing on the cake for his spectacular Hall of Fame career.

His first HR was a two run shot (bringing in Wally Backman who singled) coming off Al Nipper in the 4th inning. Daryl Strawberry followed with a double & Ray Knight drove him in with a base hit, making it 3-0. Knight himself was just hot on his way to the Series MVP Award.

In the 7th inning, Lenny Dykstra hit his second HR of the Series, a two run shot off Steve Crawford.

In the 8th inning, Carter hit his second HR of the evening, a solo shot off also off Sox pitcher; Steve Crawford. Up to this point Carter had seven hits in the Series, (7-17 with 2 HRs & 7 RBIs).

Ron Darling went seven shut out innings, allowed just four hits, he struck out four but walked six. He was relieved by Roger McDowell who gave up two runs in the Red Sox 8th inning.

Jesse Orosco closed the game out, as the Mets won it 6-2 & evened up the World Series two games each. 


Trivia: The 1986 World Series games at Fenway Park, was where & when the famous  "Daaaaaaryl" chants actually started. 

The Fenway Park, right field Red Sox fans, began taunting Daryl Strawberry with those haunting “Daaaaaryl” chants. He responded by tipping his cap in sarcasm. 

The Met fans responded by taunting reliever (former Met) Calvin Shiraldi in Games Six & Seven.

Oct 19, 2014

All Time Mets First Baseman: Keith Hernandez (Part Two- The Championship Season Onto Broadcasting)

In the 1986 Championship season, all went good for the Mets as they rolled into first place & stayed there all season long.

On opening day in Pittsburgh, his 1st inning double brought home Len Dykstra with the first run of the year. Keith would drive in another run later on in the 4-2 Mets win. He would finish April batting .300 on an eleven game hit streak. In May he drove in seventeen runs & had four separate three hit games, raising his average to .325 by June.

Over the next two months he hit four HRs, but drove in 18 runs which was small for Keith Hernandez. He also saw his average drop to .286 by August 1st. He started out on a tear driving in 15 runs in the first ten days of August. He would hit safely in 19 of the next twenty games, driving in 26 runs in the month with an incredible 40 hits.

Toward the end of August he had two multi RBI games in a three game series at Dodger Stadium. He then helped Bobby Ojeda to his 14th win, driving in two runs in a 3-2 win at San Francisco over the Giants. On that same road trip, he drove in the winning run in a 6-5 Mets win over the Padres, with an 11th inning sac fly off Rich Gossage in San Diego. He closed out the month driving in runs in the last five games as well.

At Shea Stadium on September 6th, he tied up the game in home 8th inning with an RBI base hit off the Padres Craig Lefferts. After he was picked off first base, Gary Carter delivered with a game winning HR. The next night he drove in three runs in the 6-5 Mets win. The Mets went on the road to Philadelphia needing a win to clinch the NL Eastern Division, but lost three straight & then two of three in St. Louis, prolonging the celebration.

As they returned to Shea, Hernandez was hurting with an injury & did not play in the game until the 9th inning. He was put in to replace Dave Magadan so he could be on the field in celebration, thanks to manager Davey Johnson.

He closed out the 1986 regular season leading the league in walks (94) batting .310 (5th in the NL) with 171 Hits (9th in the NL) 13 HRs 34 doubles (8th in the NL) 83 RBIs, 94 runs scored (5th in the NL) & a .410 on base % (2nd best in the NL).

Defensively he won another Gold Glove, led the league in fielding for the second straight year & was second in assists & double plays turned.

The '86 Mets were known as a raucous bunch, wild party guys who always seemed to be in some kind of trouble. Other clubs & their fans hated the teams "in your face" flashy attitude, but the Mets fans loved it.

Keith was very emotional on the field & outspoken off the field as well. He would be seen catching a quick smoke in the side of the dugout at times & was looked at as a Mr. Party type Guy.

Quotes: Hernandez once told Daryl Strawberry how to break out of a batting slump. Strawberry said, laughing: “Go out and get totally smashed.” Strawberry remembers when Hernandez told him he'd found the perfect drink, “you only get five or six in a night, a Dry martini."

Post season: In Game #1 of the NLCS at the Houston Astrodome, against the Astros, Hernandez went 1-4 off Mike Scott.

In that Game Mike Scott shut out the Mets, holding them down to five hits, as he beat Dwight Gooden 1-0. Scott would beat the Mets again at Shea Stadium in Game #4, holding them to just three hits in a 3-1 win. 

They were the only two games the Astros would in the Series, if a Game #7 was necessary, Scott would have gotten the start. Hernandez was very outspoken, as was other Met players, who accused Scott of scuffing the baseball, to get extra movement on it. Thus was born the legacy of "Mike Scuff". Hernandez went 0-4 in Game #4, an overall 1-8 against Scott.

In Game #2, Hernandez drew a pair of walks, got two hits, including a two run 5th inning triple off Nolan Ryan, leading to the 5-1 Mets win. As the series moved back to New York, Keith got two more hits & scored on Daryl Strawberry's HR in the 6- win. In Game #5, he had one hit & a walk, in the 2-1 classic where Doc Gooden & Nolan Ryan went at it in a great pitcher's duel.

Back in Houston, in the classic 16 inning Game #6, Hernandez had just one hit in seven at bats, but it was a big one. In the 9th inning, he doubled to centerfield off Bob Knepper, bringing in Mookie Wilson to bring the Mets within a run. He then scored the tying run on Ray Knights sac fly.

Hernandez crosses the plate with 9th inning
 tying run in 1986 NLCS Game #6
In the 16th inning, the Mets had a three run lead, Jesse Orosco then gave up two runs bringing the Astros to within a run, Hernandez walked to the mound & told Orosco; " if you threw another curveball we're going to fight!". He didn't & the Mets advanced to the World Series.


In the NLCS he went 7-26 (.269) with a double, triple, three RBIs & three walks.

In the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox, he went 6-26 (.231) with five walks, four RBIs & a run scored.

In Game #1 he went 0-3, and then had one hit with a ground out RBI in Game #2, as the Mets lost both games & headed to Boston down two games to none.


In Game #3 he got two hits as the Mets won their first Series game 7-1 at Fenway Park. After going hitless in Game #4, he hit safely in the next three games.

Keith Congratulates Roger McDowell After Mets
Win Game #3 of 1986 World Series at Fenway Park Boston

In Game #6 he made the second out of the inning, as the Mets were on the brink of elimination down 5-3 in the game & 3-2 in the Series. After making out, he went into the locker room, sat in a clubhouse chair & had a beer. He could not bear to watch, the Red Sox celebrate on his home field. As the Mets began to rally & tied up the game, he was going to go back to the dugout, but realized; he couldn't leave, telling himself "that chair has hits in it". The Mets won the Game forcing a Game #7.

Keith's Big Game Seven Base Hit
In Game #7, he had one hit, but it was one of the biggest of the Mets entire season. In the home 6th the Mets were down 3-0, but Lee Mazzilli, Mookie Wilson both singled & Tim Teufel walked to load the bases.

Hernandez came to bat & electrified the Shea Stadium crowd (in which centerfieldmaz was in attendance) driving a single to centerfield off Bruce Hurst. Two runs scored & the Mets were back in it. It was reminiscent of his 1982 Game Seven World Series Heroics.

Later in the 7th inning, he added an RBI sac fly to make it 6-3 New York. The Mets won the game & had their second World Series title, the dream came true. Hernndez & the rest of the '86 Mets were now legendary in franchise history.
He joined the team in a victory Parade down "the Canyon of Heroes" at Broadway to City Hall, where he & Gary Carter lifted the World Series trophy for New York City.

Hernandez & Carter Raise the Trophy at City Hall
 
Prior to the 1987 season, Hernandez was named the first team Captain in New York Mets history. As the Mets raised the World Championship banner to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Opening Day, Hernandez had two hits. He began the month slow, kick staring it up on April 24th, as he tied a 1-0 game against the St. Louis Cards. The Mets went on to a 2-1 win.

He closed out the month hitting HRs in the final three games, including driving in both runs in the 2-1 Mets win over the Houston Astros on April 29th. He got himself over .300 in mid May & on May 29th, broke a 4-4 tie in San Diego with a solo HR off Craig Lefferts for what was the game winning run.

  On June 10th he hit two HRs while driving in three in a 13-2 Mets romp at Wrigley Field. He then drove in five runs, over the next three games at Pittsburgh against the Pirates. Although the Mets lost two of three in St. Louis at the end of the month, Keith hit two HRs & drove in four runs in the series.

In August he had a seventeen game hit streak, & drove in 22 runs in the month. On August 3rd, he hit a walk off HR against the Phillies Kent Tekulve for a 3-2 Mets win. He would have a three RBI day on August 11th in a 6-2 win over the Expos. He then drove in runs on three straight games at Wrigley Field, including two in the Mets 23-10 blowout on August 16th.

On August 24th his 4th inning RBI single off L.A.'s Shawn Hillegas, was the only run of a 1-0 Mets victory over the Dodgers. Two days later his 6th inning HR off Bob Welch was the difference in a 3-2 Mets win over L.A. as well.

Mex began September with a bang, hitting a two run HR & driving in four runs in a 9-1 win at San Diego on September 1st. The next day he hit a two run HR in the 4-3 win over the Padres & then hit another in Los Angeles, as he hit HRs in the first three games of the month. On September 19th he hit a grand slam HR in Pittsburgh, off the Pirates Vicente Palacios helping New York to a 5-4 win.

The Mets were in the race until the final week of the season, but finished up losing three of the last six games, finishing up second, three games behind the Cardinals. Keith batted .290, his lowest average since 1976 & the first time he did not bat over .300 since coming to the Mets & playing a full season. He did hit a career high 18 HRs with 28 doubles 89 RBIs 87 runs scored & a .377 on base %.

It would be his last year playing a full season (154 games) as back problems would shorten his career. He made his last All Star team & won tenth Gold Glove, his fourth straight. His .993 fielding % & 1298 put outs were second in the NL, & his 149 assists were first.

In the 1988 season, the Mets won the Eastern Division but lost a heartbreaking NLCS to the L.A. Dodgers. The 34 year old Keith Hernandez entered the season with hope, as did the Mets for a repeat of 1986 after a disappointing 1987 season which saw the St. Louis Cardinals win the division & get to the World Series.

Hernandez struggled early on as a bad back & age was creeping up on him. He hit just .203 the first month but had a tremendous day in Atlanta on April 26th in a 13-4 Mets win. It was one of his biggest days ever, as he hit two HRs, a grand slam off a young Tom Glavine & a two run shot off former Met Charlie Puleo.

Hernandez drove in two runs the next day & then two more on April 29th in Atlanta. In that game his base hit off the Braves; Rob Murphy, broke a 4-4 tie & was the game winning run. This started a nine game hit streak & a total of 13 hits in those games raising his average to .292. He would drive in runs in seven of the first ten games of May.

On an early West Coast road trip he had back to back three hit games in San Diego, including a three RBI day leading the Mets to a 5-3 win. He then had five hits & drove in three runs in the Mets series sweep in Los Angeles. The Mets went 9-3 on that west coast trip to Houston & then the California teams.

In June the back issues got him, he missed over two weeks of action & then when he returned he went down gain for almost two months. Dave Magadan saw the majority of the playing time at first base, in Hernandez absence, hitting .277. He returned in dramatic fashion, hitting a 7th inning two run HR in Pittsburgh off Dave Rucker, leading the Mets to a 3-2 win. But over the next two weeks he drove in just one run & saw his average fall to .280 as he battled the back problems.

When the Dodgers came to town the Mets swept them again, as Keith hit an August 22nd two run HR as Dwight Gooden & the Mets beat John Tudor 7-1. On August 24th Orel Hershiser held the Mets scoreless into the 8th inning clinging to a 1-0 lead. Mookie Wilson led off with a triple & was brought home by Hernandez to tie the game. The Mets went on to a 2-1 win.

On September 7th, Keith hit a three run HR at Wrigley Field in a 908 Mets loss. He then missed ten more days of action on the DL but returned as the Mets wrapped up the NL Eastern title on September 22nd at Shea Stadium in a 3-1 win over the Phillies. Keith went 0-4 in the game. On the last day of the season he added another blow to his old Cardinal team mates hitting a HR in the Mets 7-5 win at Shea.

He finished up 1988 playing in 95 games, the lowest amount in his career since he had become a regular player. He hit .276 his lowest average since 1978, with 11 HRs 16 doubles 55 RBIs & a .333 on base %, his lowest since 1975.

Post Season: In the 1988 NLCS the Mets went against the Los Angeles Dodgers whom they had beaten up in regular season play all regular season. The post season was different & did not turn out as expected.

In Game #1, Keith went 1-4 in the 3-2 Doc Gooden/ Randy Meyers-Mets win. In Game #2 at Dodger Stadium with the Mets down 5-0, Hernandez hit a two run HR off Tim Belcher. The Mets lost the game 6-3 as the series was even heading back to New York.

In Game #3, he drove in a run, drawing a bases loaded walk, off former Mets team mate Jesse Orosco. The run came in the five run Mets 8th inning.

In Game #4, Hernandez had two hits in the 5-4 Dodgers win. This was the game where Mike Scioscia hit a game tying, 9th inning HR off Dwight Gooden & Kirk Gibson homered off Roger McDowell in the 12th inning for the win. Keith had just one hit in the final two games, as the Dodgers beat New York & went on to win the World Series.

Overall in the '88 NLCS, Hernandez went 7-26 (.269) with six walks for a .406 on base %.

In 1989 Hernandez began the year going 0-4 on Opening Day. In the final two weeks of the month, he hit three HRs & had a four RBI day in Houston on April 28th.

But overall he had one of his worst starts, batting just .236 by May 1st. He had a good start to May hitting safely in 9 of 11 games, getting his average above .280. But he then went on the DL missing two months of action.

In his return on July 13th, he drove in a run in a 5-1 win over the Braves in Atlanta. In July he missed yet another week of action, as he did in August as well. It was clear that his best days were behind him, at age 35 with back issues & in the final days of his contract, his Mets days were numbered. Hernandez finished 1989 playing in just 75 games, batting a career low .233, with 4 HRs 8 doubles 19 RBIs & a .333 on base %.

That off season, he was let go to free agency & signed with the Cleveland Indians.

All Time Mets Leaderboard: Hernandez is the Mets all time leader in on base % (.387%). He is second all time in Mets history in games played at first base behind Eddie Kranepool with 854.

He is sixth on the Mets All Time list in walks (4710) & is ninth in both RBIs (468) as well as singles (690). He is tenth in sac flies (31) eleventh in doubles (159) twelfth in hits (939) & runs scored (455).

Honors: In 1991 team mate David Cone switched to uniform number 17 in Keith's honor. Other '86 Mets team mates such as Ron Darling, Bobby Ojeda & Roger McDowell all wore that uniform #17 after leaving the Mets, in his honor.

Hernandez was elected to the NY Mets Hall of Fame in 1997. He was voted the All Time Mets First Baseman in team history & one of its top ten players ever

Mets Hall of Fame Induction
Post Mets Career: In Cleveland he played just 43 games batting a lowly .200 ending his season in late July. On April 25th, he hit his final career HR, it came off Todd Stottlemyer, Mel's son, in Toronto at Sky Dome. His last career hit came on July 20th, off the Angels; Bert Blyleven in Anaheim.

In his 17 year career, Hernandez hit . 296 with 2182 hits (187th all time) 162 HRs 426 doubles (138th all time) 60 triples 595 RBIs (225th all time) & a .384 on base % (138th all time). He has 1070 career walks (88th all time) 1124 runs scored (231st all time) with 1534 singles (183rd all time). He has been on base 3284 times (140th all time) with 646 extra base hits (233rd all time).

At first base he won eleven Gold Gloves, played 2014 games (19th all time) posting a .994 fielding % (37th all time) making 115 errors (92nd all time) in 19706 chances, turning 1654 double plays (9th all time). He made 17909 put outs (21st all time) with 1682 assists (4th all time).

Retirement:

Honors: Although Hernandez was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame, he has never been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.

Some say he did not have enough power numbers, others say it was his history of drug use or lack of hustle during his Cardinal days.

He has been on hand for celebrations of the 1986 Championship team, the final ceremonies of Shea Stadium & events honoring Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, Mike Piazza & other Mets Hall of Fame inductees.

After his playing career he was bitter toward the game during the "steroid era". He lost respect for the game with it's inflated statistical numbers. He blamed the commissioner & the league, the players union, players & the owners.

Broadcasting: His close friend & former team mate Rusty Staub was responsible for getting Keith back into baseball & broadcasting. Hernandez began to work as a Mets broadcaster in 1999 alongside Ralph Kiner, Howie Rose, Rusty Staub, Fran Healy on Sports Chanel & MSG Networks, as well as WOR Chanel 9.

In 2006 he joined up with former Mets team mate Ron Darling & broadcaster; Gary Cohen on the New SNY sports network. Since then he has done Mets games on the network as well as WPIX Channel 11. The broadcast team is considered one of the best in baseball by their peers & audiences alike.

He has won an Emmy Award with the trio as well as an individual one for his work at SNY. Keith is known for his wry humor, bluntness & outspoken criticism at the mike. The banter between the three has now become legendary in this generation of Mets broadcasting.

The three also do a lot of charity work through their website for Juvenile Diabetes. & Alzheimer's. Hernandez mother had battled Alzheimer's for nine years in the eighties.

Drama: In 2002 he got the Mets team angry at him after saying that they had given up on their manager Bobby Valentine. He stood behind his words.

During a 2006 Mets vs Padres game at San Diego, he commented on a female trainer sitting in the dugout, saying " I won't say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don't belong in the dugout". After receiving criticism for the comments, he apologized saying: "You know I am only teasing. I love you gals out there — always have."

He also got into a famous shouting match with Jose Reyes, that almost led to blows on a Mets team flight, after he criticized Reyes for lack of hustle.

The Famous Keith Moustache: Hernandez has also been widely recognized for his thick moustache, which was voted the "best sports moustache" of all time by the American Moustache Institute in 2007.

In September of 2012 he shaved the famous whiskers for charity, giving him an entirely new look, although he is still loved by Mets fans. He once said as a player, he did not use the eyeblack lines under his eyes to reflect the sun. He felt due to his high cheekbones the moustache itself deflected the rays.

Keith on Seinfeld
Acting: In 1992 he was part of a two part Seinfeld episode called "The Boyfriend" where he dates, Elaine (Julia Louise Dreyfus). He also appeared in the shows classic final episode in 1998.

Hernandez had appeared in a 1994 episode of Law & Order, as well as movied The Scout & The Yards. He also had a cameo as a Policeman riding in a crowded elevator in the Harrison Ford movie: the Fugitive.

He has also made television commercials with basketball star; Walt Frazier in Just For Men hair coloring products. He also did Coin Gallery commercials for a Long Island based company.



Author: He has also been an author of four sports books; If At First: A Season With the Mets ( a diary of the 1985 season) / Pure Baseball: Pitch by Pitch For the Advanced Fan (a detailed pitch by pitch players look into baseball) / Shea Goodbye: The Untold Story of the Historic 2008 Season & Murder At Shea ( a children's young adult murder mystery).

Personal: During his playing days he lived in a Manhattan high rise, on the East Side in the forties. Since Keith has been a long time resident of Sag Harbor, located in the Hamptons on Long Island.

Keith has two daughters from his first marriage. His second wife Kai is a 911 widow, the two married in 2004 with former Mets team mate Rusty Staub, giving her away down the aisle.