Aug 22, 2021

Ed Hearn: An Amazing Story of 1986 World Championship Mets Backstop (1986)

Edward John Hearn was born August 23, 1960 in Stuart, Florida. The six foot three catcher, was drafted in 1978 by the Philadelphia Phillies but never made it through the organization. He was released in January 1983 & then signed with the New York Mets the next month.

In 1984 Hearn hit .312 at AA Jackson with 11 HRs & 51 RBIs. In 1985 he was promoted to AAA Tidewater playing behind the Tides main catcher John Gibbons.

In 1986 Hearn played just 22 games at Tidewater batting .265 before getting called up to the Mets squad in May. In the 1986 Mets Championship season Hearn won the spot over Gibbons & Barry Lyons as a back up to Gary Carter.

The clean cut, Hearn wore glasses and stood out on the raucous ’86 Mets like Clark Kent stood out in Metropolis. His teammates called him “Ward” in honor of the straight clean cut, Ward Cleaver from the “Leave it To Beaver” television show.

Hearn made his MLB debut on Saturday May 17th, 1986 at Dodger Stadium, as Gary Carter got a day off. Hearn faced Los Angeles' Bob Welch, getting a single in his first at bat & a stand up double in his next at bat.

Although He didn’t play too often he was a quality reserve player & good defensive backstop.

His biggest day at the plate came at Shea Stadium on June 15th in a the second game of a double header against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That day he had two hits, including a three run HR off Cecilio Guante, in the Mets 8-5 win.

Five days later he hit another HR after replacing Gary Carter behind the plate in the 8th inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium. Earlier Carter had hit a three HR in the previous inning. On July 3rd he hit an early HR off Houston's Jim Deshaies, in a 6-5 Mets win over the Astros.

Hearn saw the most action in August (17 games) & kept his average up at .275. On September 7th, he broke up a 4-4 tie as he walked with the bases loaded in the 6th inning in a game against the San Diego Padres. The Mets went on to win it 6-5.

In 49 games Hearn batted .265 with 4 HRs 5 doubles 10 RBIs & a .322 on base %. Defensivley he was in 45 games throwing out 21% of would be base stealers, making three errors with a .987 fielding %.

Hearn got to appear in the Mets 1986 “Let’s Go Mets Go” music video as well as get on the post season roster. He was the only roster player not to get into any post season games. Hearn did join in on the field & in the club house with the victory celebrations.

In the off season he was traded to the Kansas City Royals along with Mauro Gozzo & Rick Anderson for rookie pitcher David Cone & Chris Jelic. Hearn would only played 13 games at the major league level in two seasons at Kansas City before finishing his brief three year career. He even got to teach the "hot foot" to Royals pitcher Bret Saberhagen who used it on a Royals coach.

Sadly his trade for David Cone was a one sided deal, player wise. The Kansas City Star even went & called it one of the worst deals in Royals history. Hearn would get over it as he was to have issues beyond baseball.

He ended with a .263 lifetime batting average, 45 hits 9 doubles 4 HRs 14 RBIs and a .324 on base %. He also earned a World Series ring that he still wears proudly.

Retirement: After spending four seasons trying to get back to the majors, he retired in 1992. Hearn then became an insurance salesman in Overland Park, Kansas. Ed Hearn has become a remarkable story, not on the field but in life itself. After being a successful healthy athlete he was stricken with many health problems since the early nineties.

He was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, was treated for cancer twice, & underwent three kidney transplants. At night he needed mechanical assistance to breathe & takes over forty types of pills a day. The pills even led at one time to a prescription drug addiction as well as depression.

At one point he held a revolver to his head & even thought about suicide. His faith in God & his love for his family made him think clearer & he decided to move on & fight through his problems. Through it all, he has survived and become more successful than he could have been on a ball field. Ed Hearn is a true Mets & human hero.

Honors: He is a highly sought after motivational speaker, who was awarded the Certified Speaking Profession Designation from the National Speakers Association. He is the only athlete to ever receive this designation & only eight % of speakers get this award.

He also operates two charities: the Neph Cure Foundation, (researching kidney diseases) and the Bottom of the Ninth Foundation.

Hearn is the author of the best selling Conquering Life’s Curves and has appeared on numerous television programs.

Family: Back in 1986 Randy Nieman's wife had just had a baby & while Hearn was shagging fly balls with Nieman in the outfield, he asked if there were any pretty single nurses at the hospital maternity ward. Nieman said there actually was, he introduced Ed to Tricia & the two have been together ever since. 

At the time Hearn was still dating pitcher Calvin Shiraldi's sister. The ex Met was now a member of the Red Sox whom the Mets faced in the World Series.

Trivia: During the World Series classic Game #6, Hearn had tickets for Tricia & his family. Shiraldi's sister also asked him for a ticket & she sat with Hearns parents on the other side of the row from Ed;s new love. Even clean cut Ed Hearn had drama on the 1986 Mets.

The Hearn's were married in 1987, settled in Kansas where Ed was playing at the time. His wife's experience as a nurse has sure helped Ed Hearn. The Hearn's & their son now reside in Shawnee Kansas where he spends countless hours with the youth of Kansas City. Today Ed enjoys golf, hunting & fishing.

Honors: Hearn was on hand for the 30th Anniversary of the Mets 1986 Championship team at Citi Field in 2016. He is also featured in the book- Kings of Queens, Life Beyond Baseball With the '86 Mets.

1 comment:

lanzarishi said...

Thanks again to Centerfield Maz for bringing this heart warming story to life. I love your posts and I am hooked on your amazing website. Ed Hearn is a definite miracle!