Keith Hernandez’s top Mets moments: Breaking Down The Cycle

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World Series champion and beloved SNY analyst Keith Hernandez will have his No. 17 retired by the Mets on July 9, becoming just the fourth player, plus managers Casey Stengel and Gil Hodges, in the history of the franchise to be bestowed that honor. This is the third of a 10-part daily countdown of Hernandez’s greatest moments and accomplishments following his 1983 arrival in Flushing.

No. 8: Breaking Down The Cycle

The game is more remembered for lasting 19 innings, starting on the Fourth of July, and for opposing reliever Rick Camp belting a tying home run in the bottom of the 18th.

But Keith Hernandez also hit for the cycle for the only time in his 17-year career that night in Atlanta, a crazy 16-13, 19-inning win for the Mets in a game that started on July 4, 1985 and ended at nearly 4 a.m. on July 5.

Sure, Hernandez had the benefit of 11 plate appearances in the marathon affair, but he completed the cycle — one of 11 in franchise history — with a single off lefty Terry Forster in the top of the 12th inning.

Keith Hernandez
AP

“What I remember the most is that the third inning I should have had the single, and I would have gotten the cycle in a regulation nine innings,” Hernandez told The Post earlier this week. “Dale Murphy, the Braves’ center fielder, came in and dove for it and missed the ball, but he rolled over sideways and the ball was under him and the second-base umpire didn’t see it.

“Dale rolled over and quickly put it back in his glove. I could see it from first base but they called me out. Terry Tata was the first-base umpire and he kind of chuckled, and I said, ‘Well, can’t you overrule him?’ There was no replay in those days, obviously. The single was my last hit, in extra innings, so that could have been a cycle a lot earlier.”

Hernandez doubled against Braves starter Rick Mahler in the first inning, tripled against reliever Jeff Dedmon in the fourth and homered off Steve Shields in the eighth, finishing the game 4-for-10 with a walk and three RBIs. The triple was one of 10 that Hernandez managed over seven seasons with the Mets.

“There was a lot of rain, too, and the triple, Claudell Washington tried to make a diving catch in right on a line drive,” Hernandez said. “He missed it and it went to the wall, and I was on my way. Only cycle of my career.”

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