Mike Piazza, Mookie Wilson among Mets legends on hand for Keith Hernandez’s number retirement


The Mets held a pre-game ceremony to honor legendary first baseman Keith Hernandez Saturday at Citi Field, ensuring his No. 17 will never be worn again. Hernandez joins Casey Stengel, Jerry Koosman, Tom Seaver, Gil Hodges and Mike Piazza as only the sixth Met to have his number retired.

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Hernandez fell short of Hall-of-Fame induction (he was on the ballot nine years), but remains a beloved figure in the Big Apple, leading the Mets to an elusive World Series in 1986. Many of Hernandez’s teammates from ‘86 were on hand for Saturday’s unveiling, including Ed Lynch, Tim Teufel and Mookie Wilson, best known for his momentum-shifting grounder that, inexplicably, eluded the grasp of Bill Buckner in Game 6. Also in attendance was Piazza, whose number 31 was retired by the team in 2016.

Well-known for his defensive prowess, Hernandez garnered 11 Gold Gloves throughout his career. Alluding to that impressive feat, Hernandez threw the ceremonial first pitch from a “gold” first base, with his brother Gary on the receiving end.

Hernandez was also gifted a mosaic portrait made from over 6,000 of his baseball cards.

Before he spoke, addressing a capacity crowd of over 40,000, the Mets played a tribute video on the center-field scoreboard with appearances from owner Steve Cohen, manager Buck Showalter, Don Mattingly, Daryl Strawberry, David Wright, Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor.

A visibly emotional Hernandez took the microphone next, delivering a heartfelt message to Mets fans for their support over the years, making New York his forever home. “I am absolutely humbled and proud that my number will be up in the rafters for eternity along with Casey, Gil, Tom, Mike and Jerry,” said Hernandez, a transcendent name in New York sports and, at the height of his fame, a pop-culture phenomenon (who could forget his memorable cameo on Seinfeld?). “Thank you all, I’m truly overwhelmed.”

Hernandez had the day off from broadcasting Saturday, but he still made it up to the SNY booth, reflecting on his experience with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling.

Congrats to Hernandez on a well-deserved and long overdue accomplishment, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest players in the franchise's 60-year history.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images