IF AT FIRST: A Season with the Mets by Keith & Mike Bryan Hernandez

IF AT FIRST: A Season with the Mets

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A candid day-by-day report on life with the 1985 New York Mets, which provides perspectives almost wholly lacking in the gimme-a-break account of the same bittersweet season from manager Davey Johnson (below). A former National League MVP and batting champ as well as a perennial Golden Glove first baseman, Hernandez was reluctant to accept the trade that sent him from the St. Louis Cardinals (winners of the 1982 World Series) to the lowly Mets in mid-June of 1983. He nonetheless adapted quickly and professionally to his new circumstances, contributing significantly at the plate and afield to the team's resurgence. Last year, despite an acrimonious divorce suit, public testimony about cocaine use, and one of the worst batting slumps of his career, Hernandez ranked among the most productive of the Mets in the club's failed drive to overtake the Cards in the senior circuit's Eastern Division. Happily, however, Hernandez delivers far more anecdotes than angst. Among other joys, his journal offers strong views on: bogus stats like game winning RBIs, writerly delusions about baseball's ""flawless symmetry,"" managers who permit their charges to gamble with one another, Big Apple media darlings, and owners' claims of poverty. Beyond conceding that his ""recreational use"" of cocaine during the early 1980's was a serious mistake he will not repeat, the fun-loving author has very little to say on the subject of drug abuse in the national pastime. Evidently, though, he has reservations about Peter Ueberroth, the rookie commissioner who hopes to extend his testing program to players as well as front-office personnel and umpires. If not quite in the same league with Jim Bouton's ground-breaking Ball Four, the Hernandez log provides consistently perceptive commentary on the diamond game's pleasures and sorrows. A welcome, contemporaneous addition to the first-person genre.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1986
Publisher: McGraw-Hill