Friday, July 13, 2012

50 Years in Cards: 1984

Part 23 of our 50-year Moustache...
What is it: 1984 Topps #120, Keith Hernandez

What makes it interesting: Now, we're talking! The '84s succeed where the '83s failed as far as aesthetics. The borders and round photo were replaced by some more rigid lines and text, something that reeks 1980s and really looks great. A winning set from Topps. The Mets team set is also winning, as it features the first regular issue card of Darryl Strawberry and the final Mets card of Tom Seaver, and the Traded series includes the rookie cards of Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling.

And then there's Keith Hernandez, who appears on his first Regular-issue Mets card, here.

Brought over in a deadline deal with the St. Louis Cardinals Tantamount to Peter Minuit purchasing the island of Manhattan, Keith became the kind of player the Mets hadn't had in years, the kind of player they had been missing: an impassioned leader who absolutely refused to accept losing. Though the remainder of '83 was a wash, by '84 much of the team had been turned over to a much younger group, ready to follow Keith's lead. That first year, Keith led the Mets in hitting, and the team won 90 games for only the second time in team history. In 1985, the year Keith would chronicle in his compelling book "If At First...: A Season With The Mets," they improved further, winning 98 games. And, of course, there was 1986, there was Keith getting a massively important hit in Game 7, and there was the World Series Championship we'd been chasing.

Injuries would catch up with Keith later in his career, but by then, his mark on Mets history was already well-secure. Not only did he constantly get the clutch hit, but his fielding was unparalleled by anyone before or after him. Post-career exploits would lead him to "Seinfeld," two more books, and, of course, a spot in the broadcast booth at SNY. Keith is, truly, a great Met, and his credentials speak for itself. After all, He's Keith Hernandez.

Card Back:

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