HomeUSA NewsMets Retire Keith Hernandez's No. 17 in Citi Discipline Ceremony | Sports...

Mets Retire Keith Hernandez’s No. 17 in Citi Discipline Ceremony | Sports activities Information | gadgetfee

By MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Author

NEW YORK (AP) — About an hour earlier than addressing the packed home at Citi Discipline, a concentrated Keith Hernandez stared in deep research at his index playing cards in a largely empty interview room — his huge brother sitting only a step away.

All the time ready. All the time a professional. All the time with Gary by his aspect.

A rock-steady chief for the New York Mets’ final championship workforce, Hernandez acquired a uncommon honor Saturday when the membership retired his No. 17 jersey earlier than a recreation in opposition to the Miami Marlins.

“That is only a nice second for me. I by no means dreamed I would be right here this lengthy, within the group,” Hernandez mentioned from a podium between the pitcher’s mound and second base. “I’m completely humbled and proud that my quantity might be up within the rafters for eternity.”

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Moments later, No. 17 in blue with orange trim was unveiled alongside the Citi Discipline roof within the left-field nook, simply to the left of the No. 36 retired for pitcher Jerry Koosman final 12 months.

Corridor of Famers Tom Seaver (41) and Mike Piazza (31) are the one different Mets gamers to have their numbers retired by the workforce. Former managers Casey Stengel (37) and Gil Hodges (14) had been additionally so honored.

“I thanks,” the 68-year-old Hernandez, now a well-liked Mets broadcaster, mentioned to the cheering and chanting sellout crowd of 43,336 throughout a 30-minute ceremony. “I am actually overwhelmed.”

Beloved by Mets followers for his work each on the sphere and within the sales space, Hernandez spent seven of his 17 main league seasons with New York from 1983-89 and batted third for the 1986 World Collection champions.

The following 12 months, he was chosen the primary captain in membership historical past.

Hernandez ranks second in Mets annals with a .297 batting common and tenth in RBIs. He gained a team-record six of his 11 Gold Gloves at first base in New York and was elected to the Mets’ Corridor of Fame in 1997.

“He virtually rewrote the guide on play first base,” longtime Mets radio announcer Howie Rose mentioned. “He did not merely play first base, he carried out it — a virtuoso.”

Following the ceremony, Hernandez threw out the primary ball from first base to his brother Gary, who caught it with a weathered first baseman’s mitt Hernandez wore in the course of the second half of the ’86 season.

Hours earlier than the sport, followers in No. 17 jerseys with Hernandez’s title throughout the again stood in lengthy strains ready for the gates to open.

Sporting a blue swimsuit, Hernandez mentioned he’d been awake since 3:40 a.m. after getting a textual content from somebody in a a distinct time zone. Nervous about his speech, he could not fall again asleep and began writing it about 8:30 a.m.

“Hopefully I will get by way of it in 5 minutes, if I do not break down,” Hernandez mentioned.

He choked again tears as he talked about his household and the glowing feedback he’d learn from former teammates about him in function tales main as much as his huge day.

Because of his private broadcast type and entertaining appearances on “Seinfeld” and elsewhere, many Mets followers really feel a singular kinship to Hernandez. He tells home-improvement tales, shares cuddly photos of his cat, Haji, and expounds on his prolonged, traffic-filled rides on the Lengthy Island Expressway to and from his Sag Harbor residence.

A recorded message of congratulations from Jerry Seinfeld even performed on the big video board in middle subject in the course of the primary inning.

Hernandez additionally credit a few of his clutch hitting in a Mets uniform to recommendation from revered brother Gary, who pumped his left arm within the air emphatically whereas receiving an enormous ovation from the group as he was launched with a couple of dozen members of Hernandez’s household, together with three daughters and two grandchildren.

“He was at all times my good-luck allure,” Keith Hernandez mentioned.

Hernandez has broadcast Mets video games since 1999 and gained three Emmys for Finest Sports activities Analyst. The bobbleheads handed out Saturday at Citi Discipline featured Hernandez, together with his acquainted salt-and-pepper mustache, on the broadcast desk holding a microphone.

“Keith linked with Mets followers in a method that few others ever have,” Rose mentioned.

Hernandez was offered with a present by proprietor Steve Cohen and supervisor Buck Showalter — a big mosaic portrait made out of 6,000 Keith Hernandez baseball playing cards and Strat-O-Matic recreation playing cards of 1986 Mets gamers.

Piazza was readily available for the ceremony together with just a few of Hernandez’s former Mets teammates, together with Mookie Wilson, Tim Teufel, Ed Lynch and Ron Darling — now a TV broadcast associate as properly.

Hernandez additionally gained a World Collection title with the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals and was inducted into their Corridor of Fame final 12 months. He was acquired by the Mets in a pivotal June 1983 commerce, charged with main the turnaround of a workforce that had been a laughingstock for years and instructing its rising younger expertise win.

Groomed for such a job in St. Louis by Corridor of Famer Lou Brock, that is precisely what Hernandez did — in Queens as a substitute.

“I am simply sort of a fiery participant,” mentioned Hernandez, who was sad in regards to the commerce at first.

“What did I do know? A life and career-changing occasion.”

Extra AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2022 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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