NEW YORK -- An American icon is gone -- at least until it grows back, that is.
Former Mets All-Star and current SNY analyst Keith Hernandez bid farewell to his iconic mustache on Thursday outside of Citi Field's Jackie Robinson Rotunda prior to the Mets' final home game of the season.
Hernandez had his facial hair shaved by a barber in front of hundreds of fans, all hoping to catch a glimpse of what he looked like without his most famous feature.
"I want to thank all of my fans who supported my mustache over the years, but it's time for it to take a back seat and give my upper lip some time to shine," Hernandez said in a press release.
The event -- presented by Schick Hydro -- was for a good cause. Hernandez and Schick partnered to donate $10,000 to a foundation close to his heart: The Jacquelyn Hernandez Adult Day Health Center for patients with Alzheimer's disease. The center is named after Hernandez's mother, who suffered from Alzheimer's and passed away in 1989 at just 52 years of age.
"While it was a difficult decision, I was thrilled to hear that Schick Hydro stepped up to not only properly shave my award-winning mustache, but most importantly to donate $10,000 to a charity that is very close to my heart," he said."
Fans can enter for a chance to win the commemorative Schick Hydro Power Select razor handle used to shave the mustache, as well as an autographed baseball, at SNY's official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SNY.
Kranepool takes loss of hits record in stride
NEW YORK -- An original Met, Ed Kranepool held the Mets' all-time hits record for several years in the 1960s, before Cleon Jones overtook him for a brief stretch. Kranepool then grabbed the record for good in 1976, holding it until David Wright passed him Wednesday with his 1,419th career hit.
"You never know how long it's going to last," Kranepool said in a telephone interview Thursday morning. "Obviously, guys have come and gone. A lot of players have been there and never maintained their standing. It lasted a long time. I'm proud of that fact, and obviously records are made to be broken. David passed it, so I'll just have to come out of retirement to take it back."
In reality, it may be at least another 36 years before someone surpasses Wright, particularly if he signs a long-term deal to stay in New York. Kranepool's hope for the organization that employed him for 18 seasons is just that -- that the Mets re-sign their franchise third baseman and build around him.
"He's a gentleman," Kranepool said. "He's been with the organization, the club for many, many years and he's been an asset to the organization and continues to do so. As opposed to the guys that create problems on and off the field, David certainly has held himself in a high esteem. To me, he's like the Derek Jeter of the Mets.
"How can you wish him bad luck? Certainly if anybody was going to break my record, I'm glad to see that it's David."
A frequent attendee of Mets games and charity events and, in that sense, an ambassador for the franchise, Kranepool sees a fellow emissary in Wright. The third baseman has a chance to join Kranepool as one of the franchise's few long-tenured players to play their whole careers in Flushing, prompting Kranepool to wish Wright "well on his contract."
As for the record-breaking hit, a squibber up the third-base line, Kranepool figures he caught a few similar breaks throughout his career.
"Everybody has," Kranepool said. "But he was going to pass me anyway. If I have to be second, I'd rather be second to him."
With new dimensions, Citi playing better for hitters
NEW YORK -- With one full season of Citi Field's new dimensions just about in the books, the consensus is in: it's still a pitcher's park, but a far fairer one.Heading into Thursday's final home game, an unofficial MLB.com study revealed that the Mets hit 20 so-called "new Citi" homers this year, compared to 23 for their opponents. That falls in line with the organization's preseason projections of about 50 new home runs per season.
"I just think it made a difference," manager Terry Collins said. "Certainly we've seen the effects. I think it's a fair park now. It's still a pitcher's park for me. It's still a big park. There's a lot of room in that outfield. But I think the change in the dimensions certainly lifted the confidence of a lot of guys in our lineup."
The player most penalized by Citi's new projections has been R.A. Dickey, who gave up four "new Citi" homers worth a total of seven runs -- mostly a product of his team-leading innings total. David Wright benefited the most, hitting four extra homers for six RBIs.
The Mets altered Citi Field's dimensions over the winter by constructing new, shorter walls in left, right-center and right field, lopping off swaths of outfield grass in all three areas.
"It's a little more fair than it was the first few years," Wright said. "Again, you're asking a hitter if they like a more hitter-friendly park. Of course."