The Mets are going to retire Keith Hernandez’s No. 17 next season, during a ceremony on Saturday, July 9, prior to a game with the Marlins.
Hernandez, the lynchpin of the Mets’ 1986 world championship team, joins Casey Stengel (37), Gil Hodges (14), Tom Seaver (41), Mike Piazza (31) and Jerry Koosman (36) to be so honored.
Hernandez played for the Mets from 1983-89, acquired from the Cardinals in a trade on June 15, 1983. He hit .297 as a Met and won five Gold Gloves as a first baseman in New York. In 1984, he finished second to Ryne Sandberg in the NL MVP vote, hitting .311 with 97 RBIs.
He shared the 1979 MVP Award with Willie Stargell, hitting .344 with 105 RBIs for St. Louis, and was also a key member of the Cardinals’ 1982 World Series winner.
Hernandez was elected to the Mets Hall of Fame in 1997.
“I’m thrilled,” Hernandez said in a statement released by the Mets. “This is truly a special honor that lasts beyond a lifetime. I can’t thank Steve and Alex Cohen and the Mets Hall of Fame Committee enough.
“I was very emotional when Steve [Cohen] called to let me know about the number retirement. This is the highest honor an organization can bestow upon a player. I also want to thank Mets fans, who have treated me like family since I arrived in 1983.”
“Keith was the first captain in team history and a great leader and catalyst on that ’86 championship team,” said Cohen, the Mets’ chairman, CEO and owner. “He was a defensive wizard at first and was a clutch performer late in games. We made a promise to continue celebrating and honoring our tremendous history and this is another deserving step in that direction. Congratulations, Keith.”
Hernandez, who led the NL in fielding percentage in 1985 and 1986 with the Mets, won 11 Gold Gloves overall and is a member of the Rawlings Gold Glove Hall of Fame.
He was named to five All-Star teams and ranks fourth in Mets history in on-base percentage (.387) and 10th in RBIs (468). His teammates elected him the first captain in Mets history on May On May 1987.
Hernandez, who has been a member of the Mets’ broadcast team for nearly 30 years, posted a .310/.446/.413 slash line with 34 doubles, 13 homers, 83 RBIs and an NL-leading 94 walks in 1986. He delivered three RBIs in Game 7 of the 1986 World Series.
He has been in the Mets television booth since 1999, including the last 16 years on SNY.