#TBT: Keith Hernandez talks about the time Terry Mulholland threw his glove to first to get him out
Like all great hitters, Keith Hernandez owns an encyclopedic knowledge of his career. The Mets broadcaster has catalogued in his mind thousands of at bats from across his 17 years in the Majors, which he can recall in often colorfully painstaking detail.
Then there is one memory, from 29 years ago today, that history (and we) won't let him forget.
Before the Mets completed their cruise to the best record in baseball, they had to defeat the Giants, 4-2, on Sept. 3, 1986. Hernandez finished 1-for-4 off San Francisco starter Terry Mulholland, with one eternal groundout.
Hernandez chopped a one-hopper back to Mulholland to lead off the third. Mulholland made a quick backhand stab … so quick that the ball decided to hang out in there. Unable to unlodge the ball from his glove, Mulholland tossed the entire glove to first, inspiring head scratches until the end of time.
"I didn't hit the [snot] out of it," Hernandez says now. "To get it stuck like that in the crisscross netting you usually have to hit it very hard."
"That's why it was always so confounding to me," Hernandez continued. "It's always stuck with me. I wouldn't have remembered it. It would have been just one of many outs."
Mulholland's little trick set a precedent for pitchers and infielders alike that find themselves in … lets say "sticky" … fielding situations. Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez went with the overhand toss to rob Mets shortstop Rey Ordonez during the 1999 Subway Series. In May 2014, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu fed his entire glove to pitcher Scott Carroll covering first.
This season, Cubs starter Jon Lester channeled his inner Mulholland when a sharp Clint Barmes comebacker almost shot right through his glove's webbing. Mets first baseman Daniel Murphy (by the way, why the heck are so many Mets involved in these plays?) had the same thing happen fielding a Ryan Howard grounder.
Hernandez said it would have never happened to him at first base because he used mitts with solid webbing, compared to the more checkered designs of today. But what Hernandez described sounds very similar to the glove Mulholland used, as you can see in the video above. So maybe Mullholand's glove just wasn't very broken in.
Either way, people are still talking about Mullholand's famous toss all these years later. And Hernandez still can't figure out why it happened.
"Like I said," Hernandez said, his words still dragging a twinge of disbelief behind them. "I didn't hit the [snot] out of it…."