June 14, 1987: The Day NY Mets’ Fans Got Hit with Legendary Spit
Who could possibly despise Keith Hernandez?
A native of San Francisco, California, Hernandez joined the New York Mets' organization in 1983, and would go on to spend parts of seven seasons with the franchise. Hernandez hit .310, and was fourth in MVP voting in 1986, the year the Mets would go on to win the World Series.
During his playing days, Hernandez was known as one of the bigger personalities in the game, something he has parlayed into a successful broadcasting career with the Mets on their team-owned TV station, SNY.
Yet, somehow, one of the most beloved characters in Mets' history had someone say they despised him? It was said by a Mets' fan in a New York City apartment building, and the reason was because of something that happened on June 14, 1987.
35 Years Ago Today, the "Magic Loogie" Stirred Up Controversy with the Mets
As explained in the Season Three episode "The Boyfriend" of the sitcom Seinfeld, the two victims of this heinous act, Kramer and Newman, were leaving Shea Stadium on June 14, 1987.
On that day, the Mets were playing the Philadelphia Phillies, and as Newman so eloquently states, a crucial error made by Keith Hernandez allowed the Phillies to score five runs in the final inning, and ultimately, beat New York. Being hardcore Mets' fans, Kramer and Newman acknowledged that their day had been ruined.
As the two are leaving the ballpark, they pass by the player's entrance en route to the parking lot, and happen to see Keith Hernandez leaving the game, as well. Newman takes the opportunity to express his displeasure at the Mets' first baseman, yelling out nice game, pretty boy.
Then, in a reprehensible act, Kramer was struck by someone's spit, that had been sent in the direction of he and Newman. The spit ricocheted off of Kramer, hitting Newman, and leaving both gentlemen traumatized by what had just happened.
Not so fast, though, says their friend, Jerry Seinfeld.
He surmises that because of where the pair was standing in relation to the players, the single "magic loogie" could have never caused that amount of damage alone. There had to be a second spitter, according to Seinfeld.
As we would come to find out, there was indeed a second culprit, one that neither Kramer and Newman had seen in action. It was Roger McDowell, the team's closer, who had fired the second bit of spit, a realization that changed the course of history, forever.
You can watch the full scene here:
Of course, I'm re-telling this story in a "tongue-and-cheek" fashion, much like it was told in the original episode. That said, this storyline linked Seinfeld and Hernandez together from that point forward, and Seinfeld still appears in the Mets' broadcast booth fairly frequently as a result of that relationship.
It's an iconic sports-in-television moment, and it all started on June 14, 1987.