03/22/2007 9:24 AM ET
Keith Hernandez to throw out ceremonial first pitch before the Mets home opener - April 9th vs. Philadelphia
Former New York Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez will find himself in an unfamiliar place on Monday, April 9th - on the pitcher's mound.
Hernandez, who earned a record 11 consecutive Gold Gloves at first base from 1978-1988 and twice led the National League in fielding (1985-1986), will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Mets Home Opener vs. Philadelphia at 1:10 p.m. at Shea Stadium.
"It such a tremendous honor," stated Hernandez. "I have never thrown out a ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day. My job used to be scooping balls out of the dirt, now my goal is not to bounce the ball in the dirt."
To that end, he has enlisted the help of his wife, Kai.
"I have been playing catch in the backyard with my wife to get my arm loose," said Hernandez. "This is a special privilege and I'm taking it very seriously."
Keith enters his second year as SportNet New York's game analyst in 2007, calling more than 100 spring training and regular games contests on SNY. He also contributes to SNY's news and information shows.
Hernandez ranks third on the Mets All-Time List in batting average (.297), seventh in RBI (468), eighth in doubles (159), ninth in runs scored (455), tied for ninth in extra-base hits (249) and 10th in at-bats (3,164) and hits (939).
Hernandez was a member of the 1986 World Champion Mets. He batted .310 with 34 doubles, 13 home runs and 83 RBI that season. Keith delivered a key two-run single in Game Seven of the World Series against Boston.
He was a five-time All-Star (1979-1980, 1984, 1986-1987) and was the 1979 co-MVP of the NL with Pittsburgh's Willie Stargell.
Hernandez spent 17 years in the majors with the Mets, Cardinals and Indians from 1974-1990. He compiled a .296 batting average with 2,182 hits, 426 doubles, 60 triples, 162 home runs and 1,072 RBI.