Cooperstown next for Keith Hernandez? Mets legend would 'love to get into the Hall of Fame'

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Keith Hernandez treated image with retired number
Keith Hernandez treated image with retired number

Keith Hernandez has accomplished everything every baseball player dreams of doing.

Well, almost everything.

He won a Gold Glove Award (and then 10 more), he was named to five All-Star teams, he won an MVP (and was a top-eight finisher three other times), and won a World Series in both 1982 and 1986.

In July, he will have his number 17 retired by the Mets after having been in their Hall of Fame since 1997. He was also named to the St. Louis Cardinals' Hall of Fame last year.

But there is one thing missing - a plaque in Cooperstown.

Yes, Hernandez is in two teams' Hall of Fames, but he's not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

"I have no control over it. Would I want to get into the Hall of Fame? Shoot, I’d love to get into the Hall of Fame," Hernandez admitted on Wednesday. "But we’ll have to wait and see. It’s out of my hands – I’ve been out of the game a long time."

Retiring after the 1990 season, Hernandez first appeared on ballots in 1995 to try to join the class of '96. He was on the ballot nine times, but never amassed more than 10.9 percent of the vote on any ballot. He dropped below five percent in 2004, thus forgoing any chance of him being voted into the Hall by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The offensive power numbers held him back when he was on the ballot, but in recent years, we've seen defensive specialists like Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen gain ground in the voting. Omar Vizquel was probably on his way to Cooperstown until recent sexual harassment allegations.

The Veterans committee finally voted in Gil Hodges in December. That has become lots of players' second chance at a plaque, and surely, Hernandez will have that chance, too.

Hernandez is just one of 28 players in MLB history to hit at least .295, have an OPS of at least .820, and not be in the Hall of Fame - nine of those players are not yet eligible to be on a Hall of Fame ballot until at least 2023, and two of them (Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez) were heavily linked to PEDs, hurting their chances at making the Hall.

Some of those players had more power than the former Met, but none of those remaining 17 (how ironic) players won nearly as many Gold Glove Awards as Hernandez.

"Maybe the analytics that have come into the game…will have some play going forward," Hernandez hoped.

The case has always been there, and now that his number will forever be immortalized at Citi Field, Hernandez can't help but think not just if he'll make it, but when.

"Maybe it’ll happen before I kick the bucket.”