VOTE MEX IN!
A Blessay by Michael Stahl
Yeah I’m a Mets fan, so you can try to discount this entire piece as orange and blue propaganda. I don’t care. Living in New York City, I’m exposed to an over-abundance of positive Yankee press and the Mets deserve to have someone be bombastic in their name for a change.
I fell in love with the Mets in 1985, and ’86, obviously, validated my admiration for them. Mets pride though has eluded me, and the rest of their fans, ever since. Unless we count Endy Chavez’s catch in a losing effort against the Cardinals or Jose Reyes’ cowardly bunt single in the first inning of the last game of this past season which helped award him the batting title as outstanding achievements, there hasn’t been much to pound our chests over. Therefore, the 1986 World Series Champs team remain the darlings of the Mets fan base who are under the age of about 50.
Keith Hernandez, arguably the most valuable player of that team, found himself on the ballot again for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011, this time with the Veterans Committee granting him consideration. He failed to gain the necessary votes, but year in and year out, it continues to baffle me as to why he is not a Hall of Famer. For so many reasons, Hernandez should be inducted, giving the diehards something to cheer about.
When stacked up against other Hall of Fame first basemen, Keith Hernandez’s offensive numbers, though not face-melting, are respectable. He has more hits, home runs, runs scored, and a higher batting average than five of the eighteen who are already in the Hall and bests half of them in the highly regarded category of on-base percentage. Many argue that because he was a first baseman and not a prolific power threat, which is to be expected from that position, Hernandez’s accomplishments fall short. However, anybody who knows a shitball about the history of first base is aware of the fact that Keith holds the record for Gold Gloves there, 11, all of which were won consecutively. It was his defense that had the biggest impact. To that, critics will point out that only middle-infield players should be voted in solely based on defense, like Ozzie Smith and Bill Mazeroski, because a lack of offensive production from those spots is outweighed by the benefits of having speedy, agile, skilled glove-men present there. But if there isn’t room in the Hall of Fame for the greatest defensive first baseman of all time, then how can defense be considered part of the criteria at all?
Keith Hernandez won a batting title and the National League MVP in 1979. In 1982 he won the World Series with the Cardinals, knocking in eight runs in the seven games. 1986 brought him a second championship ring and he was the Mets’ unquestioned leader. Keith was an all star five times, won the Silver Slugger twice (but was not an offensive threat…), and finished second in the MVP voting in 1984.
I’ll just give you Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers, and Goose Gossage. All in the Hall of Fame. All have amazing mustaches. Keith’s is right there with ‘em.