Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey for Keith Hernandez
|Date: June 15, 1983|
|Team: St. Louis Cardinals|
|Sent: Neil Allen, Rick Ownbey|
|Received: Keith Hernandez|
On the sixth anniversary of the infamous Tom Seaver trade to the Reds, the Mets pulled off a deal that served as a form of redemption. The team acquired first baseman Keith Hernandez from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for pitchers Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey. As a Met, Allen had developed into a bone fide closer. He led the team in saves for three consecutive years and totaled 69 in his five seasons in New York. Ownbey had pitched in 18 games for the Mets over the last two seasons. Hernandez was a five-time Gold Glove winner who had won a batting title and co-MVP award in 1979. He was also part of a World Championship team with the Cards the previous year.
The trade for Hernandez proved to be a turning point for the Mets. Keith served as a leader for a team that became a constant pennant contender after finishing in last place five times over a period of seven years. In '83, the Mets had a 31-29 won-lost record from July 31 to the end of the season. The team won 296 games (and the 1986 World Championship) over the next three seasons with Keith as a fixture in the lineup. Hernandez was also one of the Mets' prime players for their 1988 National League East Division title. During his six and one-half seasons in New York, Keith batted .297 with 80 home runs and 468 runs batted in. He also earned six more Gold Gloves. Hernandez came to stand as a symbol of the Mets' continuous success immediately after a long stretch of failure.
Allen pitched in 105 games for the Cardinals over a span of three seasons. He had 20 wins and 5 saves with a 3.84 earned run average with the St. Louis team. Neil was sold to the Yankees in 1985. Ownbey pitched in the Cards' minor league system each year from 1983 to 1987. During this time, he appeared in a total of 21 games for the St. Louis club. Rick had one win, six losses and a 4.09 ERA as a Cardinal.