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

Edward John Hearn was born August 23, 1960, in Stuart, Florida. 

At eight years old he began to compete in the NFL's Punt Pass & Kick competitions. At ten years old he won the regional contest at Miami's Orange Bowl & then represented Florida at the AFC Championship Game in San Diego. He finished fourth. Ed would compete in the competition for six years.

He would be a star baseball player, basketball player & a high school football, quarterback. There he suffered a shoulder injury that haunted him later in his life.

Baseball Career: 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. He shared time with Greg Olsen behind the plate as the team won the Texas League Championship.

In 1985 he attended the Mets Spring Training & was one of the last players to get cut.

He was promoted to AAA Tidewater playing behind the Tides main catcher John Gibbons. A knee injury shut him down at the end of the season as the Tides won the Championship.

In 1986 Hearn played just 22 games at Tidewater batting .265 before getting called up to the Mets squad in May. 

1986 Mets: In the 1986 Mets Championship season Hearn won the #3 catching spot over John Gibbons behind Barry Lyons & 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. He had gotten that name from minor league roommate, Billy Beane. Hearn also had a reputation for being a prankster.

Mets Debut: 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. In his second game he allowed four stolen bases to the Giants.

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 the second game of a double header against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That day he had two hits, including a three run HR off the Pirates, Cecilio Guante, in the Mets 8-5 win. His teammates pushed him to the steps of the dugout to receive a curtain call.

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. In the previous inning, Carter had hit a three HR as well. 

On July 3rd, Hearn hit an 2nd inning, solo HR off Houston's Jim Deshaies, in a 6-5 Mets win over the Astros. The Mets came back with two runs in the in the 9th inning, that included a Ray Knight walk off HR.

In the classic July 22nd brawl in Cincinnati where Ray Knight punched out Eric Davis, Hearn came into the game after the ejections to catch as Gary Carter went to play third base. In the top of the 14th, Hearn doubled & scored on Howard John's game winning HR.

Hearn saw the most action in the month of August (17 games) as Gary Carter went down with an injury. Hearn kept his average up at .275. He had a three-hit game on August 20th & drove in runs in three games that month. 

On August 31st, he homered off the Dodgers Fernando Valenzuela. It was to be his last MLB HR.

On September 7th, in the second game of a double header, Hearn came to bat against the Padres' Bob Stoddard in a game tied up at three.  He drew a bases loaded walk, putting the Mets ahead. as they went on to a 6-5 victory.

In 49 games for the 1986 Mets, Hearn batted .265 with 4 HRs 5 doubles 10 RBIs & a .322 on base %. 

Defensively 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. 

Post Mets Career: Hearn would only play in 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 way beyond baseball.

Hearn ended his career 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.

Battling Illness: He was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, was treated for cancer twice, & underwent three kidney transplants. At night he needed mechanical assistance to breathe & take 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 speaker 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 bestselling book "Conquering Life’s Curves- Baseball Battles & Beyond". He has appeared on numerous television programs talking about t it & his life.

Family: Back in 1986 Mets pitcher Randy Nieman & his wife had just had a baby. One pregame, 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 where she had given birth. 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 Schiraldi's sister. The ex-Met was now a member of the Red Sox whom the Mets faced in the 196 World Series.

Trivia: During the World Series classic Game #6, Hearn had tickets for Tricia & his family.

 Schiraldi's sister also asked him for a ticket & she sat with Hearns parents on the other side of the row from Ed Hearns new girlfriend. It's ironic how even clean-cut Ed Hearn had excitement 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. 

In his later years Ed has enjoyed 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."


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!

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