Im Keith Hernandez by Keith HernandezAs the calendar turns toward summer, most of my time is spent on baseball- watching, listening, and reading about Americas past time. This year our team of moderators at the baseball book club have decided to alternate the monthly read between baseball history and player autobiographies or memoirs. Last month, the group read an introspective about the 1986 Mets, a team I generally love to hate. While reading it, my co-moderator brought to our attention a new memoir by current Mets broadcaster and former star of the 1986 season, Keith Hernandez. Even though I generally dislike the Mets for personal reasons, I thought that Hernandez stood out on that team of bad boys, as an intellectual minded player who put hours of preparation into each game. When we decided to read his new memoir as the June group read, I could not object, and happily, I was not disappointed.
Keith Hernandez is a ballplayer from what I call the bridge generation, born too late to be a part of baseballs golden age in the 1950s and 1960s yet too soon to play most of his career at a time when I remembered him from his playing days; he retired when I turned ten years old so most of my memories of him playing for the Mets against the Cubs are fuzzy. Yet, his father was once a teammate of Stan Musial during their time at Pearl Harbor during World War I, and he could list veteran teammates of his own who either played with or against the all time greats like DiMaggio and even Bill Dickey who had been on the fabled Yankee teams of yesteryear. He notes that his father told baseball tales to all of the kids in their Pacifica, California neighborhood, and recalls many a childhood memory of his father relishing his time as a teammate of DiMaggio, playing against the great Warren Spahn. As such, Hernandez was raised on baseball mythology and knew from the time he was nine years old that he wanted to be a professional ballplayer.
With his father coming short of his dream of reaching the major leagues, he devoted much of his time and energy in teaching his sons Gary and Keith how to play the game the right way. Working as a firefighter, he had the luxury of having a shift of forty eight hours off in a row and could usually be found pitching batting practice to his sons or hitting them pop ups. By the time Keith was in high school, he had caught the attention of both colleges and professional scouts. Although he had scholarship offers from both California and Stanford, he turned both down in favor of the chance to play in the St Louis Cardinal organization, the team he had cheered for throughout his childhood. Getting a chance to play for the team of the great Stan Musial, his childhood hero, it was a no brain decision for Hernandez to forgo college and live out his, and his fathers, dream.
Hernandez intersperses stories of life in the minor leagues and with the Cardinals with his current job as a broadcaster. I found his anecdotes about broadcasting to be intriguing as it had been a pipe dream of mine, and I often wonder about the merits of former ball players turned color commentators. Yet, Hernandez had always been labeled an intellectual ballplayer, doing crossword puzzles before games, collecting art and offbeat music, and has dedicated himself to his second career. He has used this book as a platform to note his dislike of the current state of baseball as it has turned toward a number crunching game from computer readouts. Noting that the average ballplayer is not a rocket scientist from NASA, he believes that the game should move away from sabermetrics and back toward players relying on their previous experiences at the plate or from advice from their peers. As statistics do not measure leadership or heads up decisions on the fly, parts of baseball that were prevalent when Hernandez played are almost non existent today. While he did not set out to make this book a platform against sabermetrics, as a former player with credentials as MVP and batting champion, Hernandez views should not be taken lightly, so it is my hope that prevalent people around the baseball community take note of the opinions he offers.
Once Hernandez playing days were over, he stepped away from the game for nearly ten years until the Mets offered him the job of color commentator. Baseball needs more people like Keith Hernandez who put hours of preparation into each game as a player. A former teammate of Lou Brock and opponent of Pete Rose, this memoir is full of old time baseball stories. It also pays homage to Hernandez father who saw his own dream of playing in the majors fall short, but was able to see one of his sons excel in the big leagues. For those looking for stories about the 1986 Mets or 1982 Cardinals, those are not in this book as much has already been written about those two teams; however, this book is full of reminisces about baseball life in the 1970s, most of them captivating to the average baseball fan. Despite disliking both the Mets and the Cardinals, I enjoyed reading about a ballplayer with an above average baseball IQ.
A former St. Louis Cardinal Hall of Fame for Yes, Keith Hernandez missed out for the sixth time, to get enough votes to be admitted to the St. Cardinal Hall of Fame. As most of you know by now, Rolen and Isringhausen were voted in by the fans for the Class. Hernandez, a member of the World Championship team, will have to wait another year to see if he can rally enough votes from the fan base to enter the Cardinal HOF. However, this is beginning to look like a futile effort and Hernandez may not ever make it on a fan vote.
Keith Hernandez born October 20, is an American former Major League Baseball first baseman who played the majority of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets. A contact hitter with a. Hernandez is widely considered the best defensive player at his position in the history of baseball. Hernandez retired as an active player after spending one year with the Cleveland Indians in Hernandez was a star athlete in high school and graduated in
Oct 20, The Hall of Fame case for Keith Hernandez starts with his brilliant glove-work at first base. However, as we'll see, he was an underrated.
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5 thoughts on “Why Keith Hernandez Belongs in the Hall of Fame”
John Harper, SNY. A very good player, obviously, yet upon hearing that Baines was elected to the Hall of Fame on Sunday by a person committee, I couldn't help but think immediately of a couple of dozen former star players who are more deserving. Never mind that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf 's presence on the committee raises questions about whether he wielded too much influence on the voting process; Baines' election, along with that of reliever Lee Smith, practically demands that many others who have been passed over get in at some point. And certainly you can find more direct comps, outfielders such as Dale Murphy and Bernie Williams whose time on the annual baseball writers' ballot has come and gone; Fred McGriff and Larry Walker , who are still on that ballot -- and certainly DH Edgar Martinez , who seems likely to get voted in this, his final year of eligibility. Yet Hernandez, the former Met first baseman, has a particularly intriguing case, in part because two areas of the game in which he excelled, defense and on-base percentage, are more highly valued in this era of analytics-savvy voters. Hernandez earned 11 Gold Gloves, as he occasionally reminds viewers in his inimitable, "I'm-Keith-Hernandez" persona while working Mets' games as an analyst for SNY, but even that gaudy number doesn't do justice to the impact he had defensively. He was most famous for how aggressively he charged bunts, turning them into force-outs at second or third, and he saved countless errors from infielders with his slick footwork and sure hands.
Remember Me. Just what would Keith Hernandez be most famous for? Could it be for his eleven consecutive Gold Gloves? How about his MVP? The two World Series rings perhaps? Maybe his tenacious play as a Met? It could also be for his association with cocaine.
Keith Hernandez , first baseman for the St. Instead, he was a solid offensive producer and quite possibly the best defensive first baseman in the history of baseball. Hernandez turned 65 years old today so it seemed to me like the right time to articulate why I feel strongly that he belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame case for Keith Hernandez starts with his brilliant glove-work at first base. He was also the premier first baseman in his league the National League while he was playing.