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Keith Barlow Hernandez (born October 20, 1953) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player who was the starting first baseman on World Series championship teams with the St. Louis Cardinalsin 1982 and the New York Mets in 1986. He began his career in the majors with the Cardinals in 1974, winning the National League (NL) batting title and sharing the circuit's Most Valuable Player (MVP)honors with Willie Stargell in 1979. After a midseason trade sent him to the Mets in 1983, he became the undisputed leader amongst the players of the brash ballclub that also fell a victory short of capturing the 1988 NL Championship Series.
Hernandez appeared in five MLB All-Star Games and hit better than .300 six times between 1979 and 1987. Generally considered one of the best defensive players at his position, he was awarded the Gold Glove in eleven consecutive seasons from 1978 to 1988, the most by any first baseman in baseball history. He retired as an active player after spending one year with the Cleveland Indians in 1990.
Currently a baseball analyst working on Mets telecasts for SportsNet New York and WPIX since 2006, he has gained a cult following from his broadcasting career.
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Hernandez guest starred as himself in "The Boyfriend," a two-part 1992 episode of the sitcom 'Seinfeld'. In the episode, Hernandez dated Julia Louis-Dreyfus's character Elaine Benes, and Jerry Seinfeld developed the male-bonding equivalent of a crush on him. A subplot of the episode spoofed the "Magic Bullet Theory" from the JFK assassination. According to the show, on June 14, 1987, the Mets were playing the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium, and Hernandez committed an error in the ninth inning, allowing the Phillies to score five runs and costing the Mets the game. Hernandez exited the player's gate, where Kramer (Michael Richards) and Newman (Wayne Knight) were waiting and Newman heckled Hernandez with "Nice game, pretty boy!" Kramer and Newman then spent the next five years claiming that Hernandez had spat on them, when in fact they learned that it was really Roger McDowell – a "second spitter", just as Jerry had postulated.
Hernandez also appeared in the final episode of 'Seinfeld', which aired in 1998. ESPN Columnist Bill Simmons coined the phrase "having a Keith Hernandez Moment" in reference to Hernandez' 'Seinfeld' appearance where he recovers from a moment of self-doubt by simply reminding himself: "I'm Keith Hernandez!" Elaine ultimately dumps Hernandez due to him being a smoker.