The Curse of Keith Hernandez?

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Marty Noble’s latest column on MLB.com discusses the possibility of the curse of Keith Hernandez. The idea was posed to him by one of his readers and is based on the Mets dismal final 17 games over the past three seasons (19-32). But Hernandez denies such a curse exists. Noble backs up Hernandez in his denial by mentioning that the Mets had a .613 win percentage in the final 17 games during his playing days.

I didn’t buy Noble’s justification. I would figure such a curse would take effect after the player has left the club. The “Curse of the Bambino” didn’t affect the Red Sox until after he became a Yankee, for example. So I did a little research. The following table gives the Mets win-loss record for the last 17 games of every season since Hernandez left the Mets:

Year Record
1990 8-9
1991 8-9
1992 7-10
1993 10-7
1994 10-7*
1995 12-5
1996 7-10
1997 9-8
1998 8-9
1999 7-10**
2000 11-6
2001 10-7
2002 6-11
2003 4-13
2004 8-9
2005 12-5
2006 7-10
2007 5-12
2008 7-10

* – last 17 games played in strike shortened season
** – not including game 163 (one game playoff with Cincinnati)

The numbers above show that the Mets have a .483 cumulative win percentage in the last 17 of each season since Hernandez left. If you discount the strike shortened 1994 season (since the last 17 scheduled games were not actually played) it’s actually .477. Does this prove there’s a curse? Not definitively. But it certainly bears further study.

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