Keith Hernandez surprised by Mets jersey Photo credit: SNY

You learn something new every day and amazingly, Keith Hernandez just learned the New York Mets have numbers on the front of their uniforms.

Hernandez played seven seasons for the Mets where he wore uniforms with numbers on the front, and he’s been a broadcaster for the club since 1998 where he’s watched players wear jerseys with numbers on the front. Yet Monday night was the first time he noticed those numbers.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning during SNY’s Spring Training broadcast, play-by-play voice Steve Gelbs noted the Mets had a batter wearing number 11 at the plate, while the person in the on-deck circle was similarly wearing number 11. But two players wearing the number 11 on the same team isn’t what caught Hernandez’s eye.

“I did not notice the number was on the stomach side,” Hernandez said with some surprise, prompting Gelbs to ask for clarification. “The number. I didn’t notice.”

“What do you mean?” Gelbs asked again. “You didn’t know that there was a number there?”

“Yeah,” Hernandez answered without hesitation.

“Stop,” Gelbs said, seemingly stunned by Hernandez’s admission. “Keith.”

“Forget it,” Hernandez said before he continued the hilarious exchange. “Don’t pay attention to me…we didn’t have a number down there when I played.”

Gelbs reminded Hernandez that he did wear uniforms with numbers on the front when he played, but the Mets Hall of Famer still seemed unsure. Here is proof that Hernandez’s number 17 was indeed on the stomach side of his jersey when he played in New York.

This was a bizarre lapse, even for the popular broadcaster known for “Keithisms.” Hernandez has been staring at Mets uniforms for the better part of 40 seasons. Yes, they’ve had some jersey iterations without the number on the stomach side of their jersey. The early 90s Bobby Bonilla teams had some road uniforms without the number on the front. But Hernandez, Mike Piazza, David Wright, Jacob deGrom and Pete Alonso all wore jerseys with numbers for most of their Mets tenures.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to