Keith Hernandez’s No. 17 will join the likes of a select few New York Mets players as the organization announced the number retirement will take place during a ceremony on Sat., July 9, before a game against the Miami Marlins.
Hernandez, who played a critical role in the Mets’ 1986 World Series champion team, recording three RBI in game seven, will be just the fourth player in Mets history to have his number retired. He joins Tom Seaver (No. 41), Mike Piazza (No. 31), and Jerry Koosman (No. 36). The Mets also retired numbers for managers Gil Hodges (No. 14) and Casey Stengel (No. 37) and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42, which is retired across all MLB.
The announcement comes following years of Mets fans and baseball historians questioning why the Wilpons would not retire Hernandez’s legendary No. 17.
“Keith was the first captain in team history and a great leader and catalyst on that ’86 championship team,” Mets Chairman, CEO, and Owner Steve Cohen, said in a statement. “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.”
During his tenure with the Mets, Hernandez hit .297 (ranks second in team history in batting average) and won six Gold Gloves at first base from 1983-1989. He led the National League in fielding percentage and is a member of the Rawlings Gold Glove Hall of Fame (11 overall).
In 1986, he slashed .310/.446/.413 with 34 doubles, 13 home runs, 83 RBI, and lead the NL with 94 walks.
Hernandez ranks fourth in Mets history in on-base percentage (.387) and 10th in RBI with 468.
Following his illustrious career in the Majors, Hernandez joined the Mets television booth in 1999 and spent the last 16 years on SNY, where he won three Emmy Awards for “Best Sports Analyst.”
“I’m thrilled,” Hernandez said. “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 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.”
(Photo: AP Photo)
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