Keith Hernandez saw the trap and would not take the bait.
He had just been announced on Wednesday as a 2021 inductee for the Cardinals Hall of Fame, and a reporter wanted to know which of the two teams whose halls of fame he now is in is the one he most identifies with — Cardinals or Mets.
"You’re going to get me in trouble with that answer," he said on a video news conference.
Hernandez grew up a Cardinals fan in Northern California — his father and Stan Musial served in the Navy together — and spent his first 10 major-league seasons with them, winning a World Series in 1982.
Then he spent parts of seven seasons with the Mets, winning the 1986 World Series with them, and has spent the past 16 seasons analyzing their games for SNY.
He was a National League MVP for the Cardinals in 1979, but his statistics for the two teams are comparable.
"I enjoyed playing in both places," he said, while his 18-year-old cat, Hadji, crawled on him as he spoke from his home in Sag Harbor. "I’m not going to say where my loyalties lie. When you’re traded, you have got to go, and you’ve got to play somewhere else, so life doesn’t stop.
"When I was traded it was very difficult, but it turned out all right for me. I was traded to a perennial last-place team, and we turned it around, and I think the rivalry between the Cardinals and Mets enhanced baseball enormously."
That Cardinals-Mets rivalry of the mid-1980s had particular resonance on Wednesday, because Hernandez was joined on the video conference by two 2020 Cardinals Hall of Fame inductees — second baseman Tommy Herr and lefty John Tudor — and the three reminisced about the era’s classic Mets-Cardinals showdowns.
Those three, along with Bill White, will be inducted in St. Louis before the Cardinals host the Pirates on Aug. 21.
Hernandez was voted in by Cardinals fans. Asked whether they perhaps had forgiven him becoming a key player for the hated Mets, he said, "Well, I can’t answer for the fans, but certainly they voted me in, and I’m thrilled about that.
"There certainly was a point where I thought it maybe wasn’t going to happen, but it has now and I’m really thrilled about it."
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