Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

1976 Topps #542 - Keith Hernandez

  • Keith Hernandez was an excellent-fielding and good-hitting first baseman who played in the majors from 1974-1990. Keith won 11 Gold Glove awards -- every year from 1978-1988. Hernandez was also selected to the NL All Star team five times and won two Silver Slugger awards.
  • Hernandez was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1971. Keith played in the minors from 1972-1974. Hernandez was called up to the Cardinals in 1974 after batting .351 for AAA Tulsa and batted .294 in 14 games for the Cards in September.
  • The Cardinals traded Joe Torre to make room for Hernandez. Keith struggled with major league pitching in the beginning of the 1975 season and was sent back to Tulsa in early June. Keith batted .330 in 85 games for Tulsa and came back to St. Louis in September. Hernandez was a better hitter when he came back to the Cardinals and was able to raise his batting average from .203 to .250 after his return. 
  • Hernandez batted .289 in 129 games in 1976 and .291 with 15 HR and 91 RBI in 1977. 
  • Keith won the first of eleven consecutive Gold Gloves at first base in 1978. He batted .255 with 11 HR and 64 RBI in '78.
  • Keith's best season was the 1979 season. He was co-MVP with Willie Stargell and was an NL All Star (he struck out as a pinch  hitter). Hernandez led the NL with a .344 batting average and also led the league with 116 runs scored and 48 doubles. Keith hit 11 triples, 11 home runs, and had 105 runs batted in. Keith Hernandez: He Wins Games with his Bat and his Glove - January 1980 Baseball Digest.
  • Hernandez had another good year in 1980. He batted .321 with 16 HR and 99 RBI and led the NL in runs scored with 111. Keith made the NL All Star team again and went 2 for 2 in the game. Keith won the NL Silver Slugger award at first base.
  • Keith batted .306 with 8 HR and 48 RBI in the strike-shortened 1981 season.
  • The Cardinals won the World Championship in 1982 and Hernandez was a valuable part of that ballclub. Keith batted .299 with 7 HR and 94 RBI. Keith was intentionally walked 19 times to lead the NL and had a total of 100 walks during the season. Hernandez went 4 for 12 (.333) during the NLCS and 7 for 27 (.259) during the World Series.
  • Keith and St. Louis manager Whitey Herzog weren't getting along well in 1983. On June 15 Hernandez was traded to the New York Mets for pitchers Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey. At the time Keith was batting .284 for the Cardinals. He batted .306 in 95 games for the Mets to raise his batting average to .297 for the year.
  • Hernandez made his third NL All Star team in 1984 (he struck out in his only at bat) and finished second in NL MVP voting. Keith batted .311 with 15 HR and 94 RBI for the Mets and won the NL Silver Slugger Award. Keith Hernandez: Best Met Position Player Ever - September 1984 Baseball Digest
  • The Mets were narrowly beat out in the NL East race by Herzog's Cardinals in 1985. Keith batted .309 with 10 HR and 91 RBI in 1985. Keith Hernandez: He Plays First with Artistic Intensity - September 1985 Baseball Digest. Hernandez had to testify in the Pittsburgh drug trials. He testified that he had used cocaine in the early 1980s, especially in 1980. He later apologized to fans.
  • Hernandez helped the Mets win the World Championship in 1986. Keith batted .310 with 13 HR and 83 RBI. He also led the NL with 94 walks. Keith started at first base for the National League in the All Star Game and went 0 for 4. Hernandez finished fourth in NL MVP voting in 1986. He went 7 for 26 (.269) in the  NLCS and 6 for 26 (.231) in the World Series.
  • Keith's last season as a regular was in 1987. He batted .290 with 18 HR and 89 RBI in 1987. Hernandez started to be bothered by injuries in 1988. He played in 95 games and batted .276 with 11 HR and 55 RBI. Keith batted .269 (7 for 26) in the 1988 NLCS as the heavily-favored Mets lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Hernandez batted .233 in 75 games in 1989. The Mets let Keith leave as a free agent after the season. Hernandez signed with the Cleveland Indians for the 1990 season, but he batted .200 in 45 games and retired after the season.
  • Hernandez has written three books:
  • Keith is now a commentator for New York Mets broadcasts. He has made some TV and commercial appearances -- they are shown in the YouTube links below. Unfortunately I was unable to embed the classic Seinfeld scene with Keith and the "single loogie theory." Here is the link to the scene.
  • Hernandez recently suggested that a way to speed up the game would be to drop four teams from the major leagues. He said that would get about 50 pitchers out of the game who belong in AAA instead of the major leagues.
  • Liked to face: Steve Trout (.607 in 28 AB); Pat Zachry (.447 in 38 AB); Orel Hershiser (.441 in 34 AB)
  • Hated to face: Ken Holtzman (.000 in 10 AB); Pat Perry (.077 in 13 AB); Vern Ruhle (.100 in 20  AB) 


1 comment:

  1. He was always one of my favorite players. Looks odd to see him with the trademark mustache