The Keith Hernandez trade took the Mets to a new level
While the Orosco trade helped solidify the bullpen and Darling gave them a starting pitcher they could count on, it wasn’t until the 1983 trade for Keith Hernandez when fans began to realize how much better this club was becoming. Hernandez had already won a batting title and MVP. One of the game’s best fielders at first base as well, he was a much different kind of player than fans had seen wear the club’s uniform in recent years. He was a star about to become a leader on a team in desperate need of one.
Hernandez’s impact on the Mets was huge. Like Darling, he would be embraced by the franchise for his work broadcasting games. First, he had the 1986 season to take care of.
The fourth-place finisher in the MVP race, Hernandez hit .310/.413/.446 in the regular season with a league-leading 94 walks. He won another Gold Glove for the team, too.
Hernandez, amazingly, didn’t have any truly incredibly postseason moment for the Mets. He hit just .231/.344/.231 in the World Series but that shouldn’t take away from exactly how important he was to the cause.
Without Hernandez’s leadership, defensive abilities, and heart, the Mets of 1986 just wouldn’t have been the same.