Keith Hernandez – From ballfield to ‘Seinfeld’ and back

Mets’ Hernandez leads the fight in ’86 NLCS

Keith Hernandez

He may be known best from his guest-starring role in “Seinfeld,” but Keith Hernandez took center stage in one of the most memorable moments in New York Mets and perhaps even postseason history.

The scene: Game 6 of the 1986 NL Championship Series, bottom of the 16th inning, the Mets leading the Houston Astros 3-2 in the series and 7-6 in the game at the Astrodome. With a runner on second and two out, the Astros’ most consistent hitter, Mike Bass, stepped to the plate. A meeting ensued on the pitcher’s mound, where first baseman Hernandez had pointed words for teammate Gary Carter.

“Kid, if you call another fastball,” he told his catcher, “I’m going to come to home plate and we’re going to have to fight.”

No fisticuffs were necessary, as it turned out, as Mets pitcher Jesse Orosco threw a steady diet of sliders to Bass, who swung and missed at the third strike, thus ending an excruciating afternoon and quashing the possibility of the Mets facing an unhittable future Cy Young winner Mike Scott in Game 7. The Mets would head to the World Series and another fight to the death, this time with the Boston Red Sox.

As for Hernandez, he would finish out the decade in New York before one last injury-riddled season with the Cleveland Indians in 1990. He’s dabbled in acting since then with appearances in the series “Law & Order,” “Billions” and “Seinfeld” and the movies “The Scout,” “The Yards” and “Barracuda.” But he is known to Mets fans these days as one of the TV voices of the Mets on Sportsnet New York.

He and the Mets can be seen in action on that interminable October afternoon when ESPN Classic airs a replay of Game 6 of the ’86 NLCS on Sunday, May 31.

Name: Keith Hernandez

Birth date: Oct. 20, 1953

Birthplace: San Francisco

Height/weight: 6 feet/180 pounds

Batted/threw: Left/left

Teams: St. Louis Cardinals (1974-83); New York Mets (1983-89); Cleveland Indians (1990)

Career batting stats: .296 with 162 home runs, 1,071 RBIs, a .384 on-base percentage and an OPS of .821

Honors and achievements: Five-time All-Star; 11-time Gold Glove winner; two-time Silver Slugger Award winner; World Series champion (1982, 1986); NL co-MVP (1979, with Willie Stargell); NL batting champion (1979)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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