Since this is a site for Met fans to read and share information, I wanted to give a brief overview of my Met fandom.

My introduction to baseball began in 1977 with a brief stint as a fan of another NY team. I know,but I was young and foolish and they were winning! But my heart was not really in it and I had also been following the Mets and felt a strong pull to the that side. Any remaining feelings for the Yanks were forever betrayed when they traded my favorite player (Chris Chambliss). While i also followed the Mets at that time,the Mets became my true team during the 1979 season. I think i can be forgiven for my initial poor judgement since it wasn’t like i was bandwagon jumping. Of Course the Mets were awful during that time,our best hitter had 15 HR-79 RBI. There were many players that came and went over the seasons but there are some that stay with you. During the late 70’s & early 80’s players like John Stearns, Alex Trevino,Wally Backman were some of my faves of this period .

During the 1983 season something happened to the Mets that would lead to a change in the teams fortunes,as well as my own appreciation for a certain player. On June 17th Keith Hernandez played his first game as a NY Met with Tom Seaver on the mound pitching to Junior Ortiz. 2 days before Hernandez had been acquired from the STL Cardinals for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey (Think we won that deal?). This trade was the first step or first sign of hope for the fans of this franchise. Hernandez brought a winning attitude and on-field leadership skills to the team,as well as bringing some long-lost respect from around baseball. Of course he could also hit and get big hits,something that seemed foreign to a Met fan. Watching Hernandez play and the effect he had as a defensive player,even if it was part psychological,was fun to watch. While some smart people say the word “clutch” doesn’t truly exist in baseball,it certainly felt that Kieth was the guy you wanted in the big spot. Along with the appearance of Darryl Strawberry in 83,things were looking up. The 1984 season was for me,other than the 86 World Championship,my favorite season as a Met fan. Not much was expected from them and most fans were pretty ticked off at the unnecessary off season loss of “The Franchise” Tom Seaver to the White Sox due a front office mistake in leaving him unprotected in the FA compensation draft. Things didn’t start off well in 84 but soon the young crop of talent started coming together under the leadership of Hernandez. 1984 was also the unveiling of Dwight”Doc” Gooden who dominated the NL from the get go. The summer of 84 was owned by Gooden and Hernandez and the Mets actually tasted first place for a period but faded in September. The young nucleus was formed for bigger and better things to come. I grew to really appreciate the talent and leadership of “Mex” during this time. And with the help of announcer Tim McCarver (who at one time was a truly great announcer),i learned a lot about about the game of baseball. Beyond his hitting abilities Hernandez had an impact as a defensive player which at that time i had never seen and rarely have since. Hernandez was a key factor in the teams improvement ,although putting his defensive contribution into perspective was not easy. Using Baseball Reference’s statistic Rtot(Total fielding runs above avg) which measures how many runs a player is worth above average. These defensive stats are not as accurate as more current seasons but do give a solid picture of fielding contributions.The Mets went from a First Baseman(Kingman) with a Rtot of -15.9 (terrible) in 1982 to Hernandez sporting a 9.0 in 84 with a 12.5 in 90 games in 83 as well. So in essence he was worth 25 runs more at 1B than Kingman between 82 & 84. While i can’t prove this theory but i believe Hernandez must have saved Hubie Brooks 15-20 errors a year on throws alone. While the voters for the Hall of Fame have taken into account players with outstanding defensive prowess as compared to offence with players such as Bill Mazerowski and Ozzie Smith,i don’t see any chance of Hernandez getting in unless the Veterans committee look past the solid but not dominant offensive statistics.

Out of my curiosity,i looked at the statistical comparison between Keith Hernandez and Brooks Robinson. Without trying to sound blasphemous,Hernandez matches up with Robinson when you take away the longevity affects. Both were great fielders and i will give Brooks extra credit for playing a tougher position(3B) but as far as offensive skills,Hernandez was a better player in most categories. In categories such as BA,OBP,SLG and OPS,Hernandez was superior. I say this not to besmirch the Hall of Fame credentials of Robinson but to state the under appreciated talents of Keith Hernandez.

Although this won’t help his HOF candidacy(but it can’t hurt) Hernandez may have had his most memorable off the field performance in a classic episode of Seinfeld,which just happens to be one of my all time favorite shows. He also has turned into a very interesting broadcaster for the Mets and SNY. While not the traditional broadcaster,he is prone to the occasional gaffe and wandering attention span. But have grown to love his no BS analysis and sometimes amazing quotes like “I won’t say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don’t belong in the dugout.” and things like this.  Like him or not,he is quite the character.