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Livan Hernandez to officially retire

Mar 12, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Livan Hernandez Marlins

Livan Hernandez hasn’t pitched since 2012, but he hadn’t officially retired yet. Now he will reports Bill Ladson of MLB.com. The official papers will be filed and Hernandez’s playing career will, administratively speaking, be no more.

Hernandez pitched for 17 seasons in the big leagues, compiling a record of 178-177 with an ERA of 4.44. While he made the All-Star team twice and was a playoff hero in 1997 for the Marlins, he was basically an innings-eater. You could do well if he was in the back of the rotation throwing 200+ innings a year, but if he was your top starter you were kinda screwed. There’s a lot of value in that, even if it isn’t always pretty.

Of course, despite all of that, Hernandez is probably best known for Game 5 of the 1997 NLCS in which he “struck out” 16 Atlanta Braves batters. He had a bit of an assist, of course, from home umpire Eric Gregg:

Which, to this day, had to be the worst job of home plate umpiring in baseball history. I was livid at the time, but since then I’ve just grown amused by it all. Really, good for Hernandez. Unless he paid off Gregg, he didn’t ask for that zone. He merely observed that he was getting it and pitched to the spot he was given over and over again. Sure, the spot was a foot outside or more, but the reason for that is between Eric Gregg and his god.

A god which the late Gregg is likely sitting next to right now, laughing his butt off about that 1997 NLCS, up in Umpire Heaven.

  1. tfbuckfutter - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Now he just has to find his real birth certificate and he can start collecting social security.

  2. karlkolchak - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    He’ll likely be the last guy ever allowed to throw more than 250 innings in one (regular) season, which he did for the ‘Spos in ’04. Anyway, loved that Eephus pitch.

    • ezthinking - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      “last guy ever allowed to throw more than 250 innings in one (regular) season”

      Except for Verlander who did it in 2011. (Shields had 249.1); Halladay in 2010 (F. Hernandez with 249.2); and Sabathia in 2008;

  3. dlevalley - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    One of my favorite baseball memories of all time involved Livan.

    It was for the 2002 Giants (he would ultimately break our hearts), late in the season in a game against the Braves in Atlanta, so I’m sure it was incredibly hot. I’m pretty sure the two teams were both fighting for a playoff spot.

    It was Livan vs. Tom Glavine. Livan gave up a run (I think it was in the first) so it was 1-0 in the top of the sixth. Livan’s spot came up in the lineup — Livan was always a pretty good hitter — and he hit a rocket off Glavine. Livan came screaming into second, but then the 3b coach was giving him the signal to keep running. Somehow, the TV shot caught Livan’s face right as he was rounding second and saw the signal, and it was clear that this was the furthest he’d run in a LONG time. His shirt came untucked, his arms were flailing, and he looked like he was in the last legs of a marathon.

    He slid into third to beat the throw and just lay on the ground for minutes, gasping for air like a beached whale. It was amazing. When he finally got up, he looked to the dugout and very clearly asked Baker to be pulled for a pinch runner. Baker just laughed and shook his head — the whole dugout was laughing hysterically. When he went back out for the bottom of the sixth he just looked brutal, all drenched in sweat, his shirt still untucked, dirt all over his uniform.

    • tfbuckfutter - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:04 PM

      And the Dusty had him 90 more pitches.

  4. kalinedrive - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    Livan, Livan likes his money. He makes a lot, they say. Spends his days counting in a garage by the motorway.

  5. baseballisboring - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    Ah, what throwing strikes can do for a pitcher’s longevity.

  6. asimonetti88 - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Absolutely an innings eater, but for some reason, fun games always followed him.

  7. NatsLady - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    Livo was a great bunter. So, there we are in Cincy and it’s hot as h***, and Livo’s back somewhere charting pitches or something in the a/c, and he’s called on to bunt in like the 12th or 14th inning. He borrows someone’s cleats, and comes out of the dugout tying his shoelaces. Misses the first pitch. Lays down a perfect bunt on the secong pitch… and goes laughing and gabbing halfway down the first base line. (Unfortunately, Joey Votto later hit a walk-off HR, but it’s still one of my great memories of Livo).

  8. Bryz - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    My favorite Livan moment: His lone year with the Twins, he threw that Bugs Bunny curveball to Miguel Cabrera, who got under it and was out on an infield pop-up. Miggy went back to the dugout screaming at Livan, probably demanding that Livan should stop throwing garbage pitches to him. Livan retreated to his dugout laughing.

  9. 18thstreet - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Craig, that was quite a tribute to Livan Hernandez.

  10. chaseutley - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    The first words Livan learned in English:
    “I love Wendy’s hamburgers!”
    Something about that has always made me laugh.

  11. florida76 - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Great, championship teams always find a way to get it done, regardless of the sport. If the 1997 Braves were deserving of advancing, they should have compensated for the generous strike zone that particular day.

    • themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      I think they’d have had to step on the plate to hit anything out there

    • jkcalhoun - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      So I think what you’re saying is that great championship teams have very long arms.

  12. seanb20124 - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    Glad the allegations of money laundering and drug smuggling were unfounded.

  13. skerney - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    I love Craig: “POSEY WAS OUT!” “HRBEK PULLED GANT OFF THE BAG! “ERIC GREGG!”

    • voteforno6 - Mar 12, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      Considering how much he probably rooted for Tom Glavine, that complaint about the strike zone is especially amusing.

      • dcarroll73 - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:12 PM

        vote, you beat me to it. My comment to Craig would be that he gets zero sympathy because of one word, “Glavine”. At least Tom lured both the umpire and the batters into it. He would start out getting strikes two inches outside. Then he’d get them 4 inches out. I swear by the sixth inning or so he would get the call on a pitch to the far side of the opposite batter’s box. He was an artist, and I doff my cap to him. I will grant to Craig that the Livan game was more of a direct case of umpire malfeasance. Anyway, fare thee well, Livan. As a Giants fan, I almost always enjoyed watching you (I know – that’s a really big almost.)

    • voteforno6 - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      Also, Hrbek didn’t pull Gant off the bag. Gant lost his balance, and Hrbek just took advantage of that.

  14. Old Gator - Mar 12, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    I knew dogs went to heaven, but….umpires?

  15. voteforno6 - Mar 12, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    I think my favorite Livan moment was his called shot against Atlanta in 2010.

  16. Old Gator - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    My favorite Livan moment was his bellowing “I love you Miami!” repeatedly from his convertible in the ’97 championship parade down Flagler Street. We loved him too. Then Pineapple Face blew up the team in the first of a long series of owership smackdowns and abandonments of the team’s fans which continues unabated to the present day. Livan, though, was quite the character. If you look in the dictionary next to “workhorse,” there’s a picture of Livan with a teamster’s yoke around his shoulders.

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