New York Mets: Five best acquisitions by the team since 1980

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images) /
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2. Keith Hernandez

For the top two choices we have to first talk about general manager Frank Cashen. Cashen was the general manager in the 1980s, and gets a lot of grief from Mets fans. In their defense, he is the guy that broke apart a team that probably could have won more championships than they did. However, he doesn’t get enough credit for putting the team together. And Cashen could put a team together, both through the draft and through the trade.

Here is one of his best.

The Mets were building from within in the early 80s but they needed someone to anchor the infield. They needed a player that brought the team legitimacy. It just so happened that first baseman Keith Hernandez was having some trouble with Cardinals officials and Cashen sensed that a move could be made. On June 15, 1983, the move was made as Hernandez was shipped to the Mets in exchange for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey. All of a sudden, the Mets, who had gotten back to being yearly losers, started to turn the tides. In 1984 the Mets won 90 games, were in the race until the final days of the 1985 season and 1986 was, well 1986.

At the forefront was Keith Hernandez. He set the standard for fielding the position, winning 11 Gold Gloves. He batted .297 in seven years with the team, including hitting over .300 from 1983-1986. Though he only hit .231 in the ’86 series, his single in the bottom of the 6th in game seven off of Bruce Hurst started the Mets comeback in the decisive game. His hit brought the Mets to within one run at 3-2, in a game that the Mets eventually won 8-5.

We now hear him in the broadcast booth but those of us that are old enough remember that he was an absolutely special player.