While reflecting on his career, which earned him a number retirement from the Mets and a congratulatory press conference on Wednesday, Keith Hernandez also came face-to-face with his own mortality.
Specifically, when the topic shifted to his chances of making the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the 68-year-old Hernandez said that if he does earn an induction, he’d like for it to happen while he’s still around to appreciate it. “It’s out of my hands,” Hernandez said. “I’ve been out of the game for a long time. Hopefully I’ve got another 15, 16, 17, 18 years of life. Maybe it’ll happen before I kick the bucket.”
I’m not into the analytics stuff, so I went old-school and counted 9 Hall of Fame-ish seasons for Hernandez during his career. Add to that an MVP in ’79, two World Series championships and 11 Gold Gloves and to me, Hernandez should be in there. Of course, the biggest knock will be the lack power for a 1st baseman (only 162 HRs in a 17-year career), but in his prime Keith was pretty consistent run producer with a guarantee of around 90 per year and an OBP that was always high. That said, the fact that Hernandez never got better than 10.8% in a Hall of Fame vote when he was on the ballot is mind-boggling. Time for the Veterans Committee to make up for that mistake.