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Richie Hebner
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Richie Hebner
Richie Hebner
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 79 of 975 players
Hebner
Richard Joseph Hebner
Born: November 26, 1947 at Boston, Mass.
Throws: Right Bats: Left
Height: 6.01 Weight: 200

Richie Hebner was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on November 26, 2004, December 20, 2010, February 15, 2011, August 7, 2012, September 12, 2013, and September 13, 2013.

3b 1b

First Mets game: April 5, 1979
Last Mets game: September 30, 1979





Share your memories of Richie Hebner

HERE IS WHAT OTHER METS FANS HAVE TO SAY:

Ernie
Said he hated New York. During his time with the Mets the guy waved at more ground balls by him than Corbin Berson's character in Major League. You could tell he just didn't care. I'm still trying to figure out how he was able to hit with that hunchback of Notre Dame batting stance. Hebner's the only player I've ever seen hit with his hands below his knees. Hebner used to always grab the top of his shirt and pull it over his shoulder before hitting. A decent hitter though. If anybody had a perfect body to dig graves it was Hebner.

Mr. Sparkle
March 1, 2001
First guy I can remember who really hated being a Met. He wanted no part of New York. He had a bad attitude and couldn't wait to get outta town. Thank God the jerk only lasted one year. He's an all-time D-bag.

rg
March 30, 2001
What a drag! This guy came into town as the new slugger and had 79 RBI's (which at that point was Richie's personal best!!!) and ten homers - this was not the dead ball era either. Hated NYC, got most of his RBI's in the first two weeks of the season and the last week when the Mets won their last six to avoid losing 100.........probably had a greater spread of ribbies but it sure didn't seem like it. But at least they traded him for Mankowski and Morales!

Andy from Rego Park
April 7, 2001
Early in the dreadful 1979 season, the Mets scorecard & program contained a profile piece on newly acquired infielders Frank Taveras and Richie Hebner... in the table of contents the story was titled, "Hebner and Taveras give Mets' Lineup Big Boos." I'm thinking they meant "boost," but having watched Hebner and Taveras play side-by-side, I'm not really sure.

David Grover
May 25, 2001
I remember Richie getting a huge home to win a game that year. I also remember him making 3 errors in one game.

Jay
August 6, 2001
Being a lifelong fan of Richie's, I may have a slightly different view than most.

Why the Mets ever touted him as a power hitter...batted him cleanup...expected him to be the answer...is beyond me. Let's get serious, his attitude towards life and the game, are just what the fans needed to fuel their fire. Now, maybe that's why they traded for him. I think this was a patsy situation. Management didn't want to spend real money then, they wanted to get the fans' goat. And...It worked!

Richie was a decent hitter, a decent fielder, and a jewel of a guy. With a great sense of humor, he provided a much needed "don't get so worked up" attitude on the team. With or without him, the Mets were doomed that year. Might as well have some levity in the clubhouse.

Frank
August 19, 2001
Loved the guy, great humor. Always flipped the bat when he missed the pitch and sometimes he didn't catch it. I have a game used bat of his from the Detroit era that displays nicely on my wall. He's OK with me. Also can anybody give me his uniform numbers from the various teams that employed him?

JR
October 25, 2001
This guy was a no good, loser. The icing on the cake was when he gave the finger to the fans on Mother's Day, 1979...Mother's Day, of all days.

Mike Michela
November 19, 2001
I remember in a 1979 game, he grounded out to SS. He then threw his helmet and it hit first base coach in the shin.

Rich
February 11, 2002
Hebner played for the Mets in the middle of a really DARK period. He quickly became a whipping boy for failing to hit in the clutch, and he really chafed at the treatment he got from the fans. The Mets were routinely drawing less then 10,000 during the dog days and the fans behind third base would totally abuse Hebner. One night the abuse was so entertaining, Braves third base coach Alex Grammas couldn't hide his amusement. One of the abusive fans turned his attention to HIM! "YOU ##CK TOO, GRAMMAS!!!", and for the rest of the game Hebner got a pass. Only in NY!

shawn
March 11, 2002
Richie Hebner had the distinction of playing in 8 NL Championship Series: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 (Pirates), 1977, 1978 (Phillies) and 1984 (Cubs). He made the playoffs 8 times in his career, only winning the WS once, in 1971.

Larry Burns
May 30, 2002
Complete jerk----without question one of the biggest losers ever to don a Met Uniform. He used to cut away part of his shoe to fit his hugely deformed foot into them. Hated being part of the Mets---he was one of the class of athletic bozos who want to be paid like a star but then chafe when fans expect him to perform like one. Met announcers used to love to tell the fans that he dug graves in the off-season for extra work. With his social skill and grace, it was one job that he was perfectly suited for. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

DBulls
July 9, 2002
Gotta be one of the weirdest people I ever met. Can be nice to you one second and be an ass to you the next, his mood is always changing and he hardly ever talks.

Alex from New Rochelle
July 23, 2002
Used to play for the Pirates. I don't know, I was a young kid then, but I remembered that the opposing team got a base hit into left field, with the runner on first went to second. The left fielder (forgot who it was) throws a strike to Hebner at 3rd, to make sure the runner didn't advance any further. Hebner never even turned around, and the ball hit him squarely on the back! Ever since then, I always thought of him as a slacker!

Steven Greenblum
August 19, 2002
I do remember when I was 11 years old in 1979, the Mets were down 7-4 in the 9th inning, Richie Hebner hit a game-tying three-run home run to tie it, and Frank Taveraz hit a single in the 10th inning and Mets won 8-7. At that point, that was my favorite baseball moment. But that is the only highlight of Richie Hebner's stay with the Mets

David Block
January 25, 2003
Had a chance to talk to him at Mets fantasy camp last week. He wanted no part of NY. He was a blue collar guy with a blue collar attitude. He STILL digs graves!

He told me that Manager Joe Torre told the team in that awful year of 1979: "Look, we win only 2 games a week. Why not win Monday and Tuesday and get it over with?"

Funny guy to drink with and listen to his stories. He played with those great Pirate teams of Stargell and Clemente.

There was a guy on his fantasy team -- a real gamer -- who had survived 2 heart attacks and had 5 stents in his heart. He broke his thumb, but took off the splint to pitch a couple of innings when the team needed him. He told his team that he did not take his heart medication that morning. Hebner's reply: "I didn't care. I hadn't dug a grave in a week!"

Larry Burns
January 27, 2003
What a TOOL! This guy could have cared less when he was on the team and made no attempt to hide his lack of enthusiasm. He was one of the biggest jerks to ever don the Blue and Orange. Yet he has the audacity to actually participate and collect a check for working in a fantasy camp? Integrity---Richie you have none. From the story of the old timer who was on his team, if there ever was justification to bean your own player---this is it. Let's expunge Hebner from all Met records---he is still a chump!

Shari
January 28, 2003
Hebner was and is a lazy piece of crap. David, I give you A LOT of credit for going to fantasy camp and playing and all of that, I'm sure it's not easy but I hardly think that story about Hebner saying "I haven't dug a grave all week" in reference to that poor guy who had the heart attacks will endear him to many Met fans. In fact it makes this Met fan hate hm even more than I ever did.

Mr. Sparkle
January 28, 2003
I think it's a disgrace that the Mets even have this guy at fantasy camp. They must be pretty deperate to get players if this guy was invited. And if he hated being in NY so much why the hell did he come to camp? The paycheck of course but this guy is such a whore he has no right putting down NY especially to a bunch of Mets fans. If he is in the fantasy camp they might as well get Jim Kern and Jorge Orta as well. They were never Mets in uniform but were technically Mets for a few days. I'd rather see them then this clown! How about digging a grave and jumping in Richie. You were a horrible team player for us when you were here and it looks like you're just as bad in a fantasy camp. What a tool!

Joe Figliola
February 7, 2003
The funny thing is that when the Mets acquired Hebner, I applauded the move. Yes, I'll admit that I respected him when he was with the Pirates, and I thought that his experience on such winning clubs as the Bucs and Phillies would help the Amazin's. Yeah, right.

Shari
February 7, 2003
I also thought when the Mets aquired Hebner that it was good move (Granted I was 10 years old at the time) but it was a foreshadowing of the way things are now, be it decent players or marquis big name guys that come to Shea and end up being a bust. Hebner sucked and he was a lazy piece of garbage when he played here. (Even this then 10 year old was able to recognize that.) I just wonder how Piazza has able to maintain good numbers while he's here, but I guess I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Joe "Metsie" Feltman
April 29, 2003
The announcers, especially Murph and Kiner, always talked about him digging graves in the off season, that's because that's all he was good for! When he batted, it looked like he was practicing his off-season vocation, rather than trying to hit. I remember when they got him, the Mets PR department was promoting him like he they got Pete Rose...very pathetic days indeed!

Logan Swanson
May 2, 2003
After 24 years, I know realize it. Hebner bears a striking resemblance to CNN's Ted Turner, both with cheesy 1970s porn star mustache.

rich salustro
May 16, 2003
All I know is that Richie was a gamer! I remember one Sunday game at Shea against the dodgers, a call didn't go his way and he went absolutely APESPIT towards the ump. I would emulate his batting stance in Little League with his shirt tug and deep crouch.

Plus, he signed his 1974 Topps card for me through the mail.

Doug
June 2, 2003
Loser! One of many in a long line of players during that era that the Mets brought in who were well past their primes and who had all kinds of success with other teams, then came to the Mets and stunk. Players such as Mickey Lolich, Dock Ellis, Randy Jones, Mike Torrez, Ellis Valentine, Dick Tidrow and Hebner. GM Frank Cashen finally got it turned around in the mid- 80s. Hebner may have been the biggest waste of space in Mets history.

Big Vin from Staten Island
July 24, 2003
That he was a grave digger with his Dad and brothers in the off-season was always mentioned. I can still hear Ralphie Boy and Bob M talking about it. Gee, how long ago was that - that the players actually had to work in the off season - I mean actually do something - not get paid for showing up at the Shriners Convention or a Mall opening! Do you think he needed the cash?

Gary
August 14, 2003
Hebner played for Pittsburgh during four years which I followed that team very closely.

Richie wasn't the greatest player in the history of the game but he saved his share of games defensively and offensively.

No one who has ever been challenged with a major league baseball career would make the kind of negative coments made on this forum about Richie. It is extremely difficult to maintain even average offensive and defensive statistics as a major league player.

Why weren't you out there playing errorless ball and batting .300 for the Mets in 1979? If you COULD have, Richie would have been helping his family dig graves.

Raydle
September 3, 2003
I agree with you, Gary. I was a Pirates fan back in the days of Richie, Kemer Brett, Manny Sanguillen, Rennie Stennett, Jim Rooker, Rickie Zisk. I remember Richie had the nickname of "Puck" since he played hockey, also. If I'm not mistaken, he could have played for the Boston Bruins (?). Richie had a great sense of humor. I remember sitting behind the third base dugout at a Braves/Pirates game and the people sitting around me thought I was from Pittsburgh and they asked me "Is Hebner as much of a flake as he seems to be?" He was just Richie. (And as far as the gravedigger remarks go...have you ever tried digging a grave in Massachusetts in the winter??)

Love ya, Richie! Mean it!

Nishna
October 3, 2003
Easily the biggest jerk I ran across in my days in college radio. Nobody else was even close. And this was years after he left the Mets so the bad attitude wasn't a "Mets" thing, he was simply a jerk. My only memory of Hebner as a Met was striking out on a pitch that hit him in the ribs.

Kenny M
January 31, 2004
I know someone who just got back from the Florida Fantasy Camp, and I asked him what players were there. He rattled off about 20 names including Hebner, who I was surprised to hear. He said that he never saw Hebner there because he was asked to leave the camp by a Mets official after he said something that was "out of line" that apparently offended someone. Remembering Hebner, I'm not surprised.

A.C.
February 13, 2004
I remember when he first came up to the majors with the Pirates, and we didn't quite know what to make of him! I saw him let a hot grounder go right through his legs at 3rd base and boy, the fans let him know what they thought! But he turned out to be a fine 3rd baseman and hitter, helping the Bucs win the World Series in '71. As a log-time Pirate fan, I have mostly good memories of Richie. Nice to see he is a hitting instructor now.

Feat Fan
February 19, 2004
Wonder what's more difficult, digging grave sites or digging out one hoppers in the dirt? Hebner turned out to be a decent player, some pop and durability. Came up with the likes of Bob Robertson, Dave Cash, Manny Sanguillen, Gene Clines, Rennie Stennett and the vastly underated Mr Scoop, Al Oliver. As so very often happens, by the time he made it to the Amazin's he was past his prime and playing for a team that was misguided and in the trenches. Some things just don't change!

Kiwiwriter
June 18, 2004
When Richie Hebner came to New York, he thought he was going to the Yankees. He was stunned and furious when he learned he was actually going to the Mets and doomed to last place with that comical club.

I saw him live in a double-header. He got into an argument with the umpire in the first game, so he got bounced. Before leaving, he covered home plate with dirt and threw bats out of the dugout. Joel Youngblood went to third and Bruce Boisclair (two of my favorite Met names) went to right.

In game two, Hebner was back, and he got a huge ovation in his first at-bat. Probably the only one he got in his year with the Mets.

He was there because Pete Rose displaced Hebner at first with the Phillies. Hebner was on first with the Phillies because they had Mike Schmidt and the Pirates had Bill Madlock.

I'm amazed that he'd go to a Met fantasy camp.

Denis
June 28, 2004
Most Mets fans think Dave Kingman was the biggest dog of all time. He wasn't. Richie Hebner wins hands down. The laundry people loved him-he never got his uniform dirty.

Shari
July 1, 2004
Look at this creepy photo-does it surprise anyone that he was grave digger in the off season?

Jonathan Stern
December 19, 2004
Looks a little like Captain Quint from "Jaws" in the above picture. I almost expect him to break into a sea shanty or two.

During his year with the Mets, Hebner was involved in a strange play that took place during the 1979 Umpire Strike and is rightly enshrined in Nash and Zullo's Baseball Hall of Shame. Lee Mazzilli hit a ball to a Giant outfielder who caught it, dropped it, then proceeded to throw Hebner out, Hebner having been unsure whether the ball was caught and having received no help from the scabs. The umpires signalled double play, causing Joe Torre, Maz and Hebner to fly into a rage. Then the umps reversed themselves and ruled that both Maz and Hebner were safe, bringing upon themselves the wrath of Giant manager, Joe Altobelli. Eventually, the chumpires came up with the following compromise: Maz was out because the Giant outfielder caught the ball before he dropped it, but Hebner was safe because he had been confused by the umpire.

Both teams protested the game.

David G
December 27, 2004
As a kid in 1979 I did not know much about his attitude but the 9th inning game-tying three-run home run was one of the most exciting met moments of those bad (but fun) years.

spoonyluv
May 22, 2005
I remember seeing an interview with Hebner right after he was traded to the Mets. He looked like he had just found out he was going to the electric chair. Actually hit fourth for the Mets with his big 10 home runs.

Jim Go Mets!
June 16, 2005
I lived and breathed with the Mets when I was young. After Mrs. Payson died and Tom Seaver was traded, the Mets were miserable but Richie Hebner was a bright spot. When we traded for him I was SURE we were going to win the World Series. He used to cut holes in his shoes because he had terrible corns or bunions on his feet. I have always thought that he did the best he could in a bad situation.

Mary T. (Lanning) Loiselle
July 5, 2005
In 1968 I took a chance and wrote a letter to Richie Hebner from Norwood, Massachusetts. He was born in November, the same month as myself and we were also the same age.

He sent me a letter from the Pirates Spring Training Camp. I was very surprised and he also told me about his being drafted to play hockey. He said some day, "if I am ever in your area, I will drop by to see you". He never did stop by, but he did write me a few more times. (I have all the letters and they are handwritten.)

I sent him a medal of the Saint for Athletes, which he wrote and thanked me for and I also send a chocolate candy horse shoe for GOOD LUCK. He got them and thanked me, but never heard from him again as we went into 1969, I was busy with my own life and even though I did drive to Norwood once, (I found out he lived near St. Mary's Church), I just couldn't bring myself to stop by where he lived. Also he was a great writer and told me stories of him being a grave digger in the off season and stuff about his hockey playing days. I honestly have the letters as I kept them for the memories of someone who was a great Pirate Player and a Great Guy, although I do wish I had met him, not that he would have liked me, but he just seemed like a regular person like myself, but it was not meant to be. God Bless You, Richie, You don't know how you made a young girl feel very special, because I always wanted to believe you wrote me back because you were nice and that is the way I remember you.

Lifelong Fan
July 9, 2005
This guy when interviewed used to give the most rambling answers that usually started out with, "It's nice to be where you're wanted..." and usually ended up with the sentiment that he wanted to be elsewhere.

Steve
August 2, 2006
I remember going to a game with my dad in mid-'79 (I was 10) and he used to get company seats in the first row behind home plate at Shea. There was this guy sitting next to us who was relentlessly heckling Hebner the entire game. He kept saying "Hey Richie..you belong in the AL!...you're a DH! Next year you'll be DH-ing in Boston!" After striking out in the 7th inning, he just turns to the guy and smiles. Sidenote: the guy wasn't too far off; he was DH-ing part of the time in Detroit in 1980. That's my memory of Richie.

Paula
September 16, 2007
I don't know the Richie Hebner you guys are talking about! I first met him when he played in the minors in Raleigh, NC. I was a 6 year old little girl, that loved baseball. He was an outstanding young man, he always found time to talk to all the kids before and after games.

That team had Al Oliver, Richie, Manny (catcher) the list goes on and every single one of them were nice to the kids that hung around! I still have all the baseballs that all these guys signed for me when I was 6 and 7 years old.

When they all went up to the big show in Pittsburgh, we continued to follow them. Richie wrote me letters that I have in scrap books and sent postcards from several places and I still have a card he sent me when I had my tonsils out in third grade! My father and I got tickets to go up and see the Pirates play and it was great.

I don't know this Richie the rest of you are talking about.

I'm still in North Carolina and had the chance to take my 3 sons to see the Durham Bulls when he was a hitting coach there! He was just as nice as ever.

I have no clue about the Richie Hebner you guys are talking about. I guess New York's not for everybody huh? But hey, I'm a Yankees fan anyway.

Dan Gurney
November 8, 2007
He mailed it in as a Met (although he may have been nearing the end of his career too) but I blame the Mets front office for this. They had a chip to deal in pitcher Nino Espinosa and they use it on an aging player who very publicly said he wanted no part of the Mets. Manager Joe Torre thought his persuasive powers were enough to change Hebner's mind. It didn't work. Hebner invoked his rights to demand a trade after one year..something which former player's rep Torre forget the Basic Agreement allowed.

Even if Hebner wanted to be a Met, what would the trade have accomplished? The Mets were several years away from contention. If you were going to trade Espinosa, get a couple of good young prospects.

Jim from Whitestone
July 22, 2008
I recall being at a doubleheader and he got tossed for arguing a strike in the bottom of the first. In the paper the next day he lamented that he while he thought that he'd be able to go home early because he thought the rule was if you got thrown out of the first game of a doubleheader you were out of the second too. Turned out that Rockhead was wrong.

I guess he was nice to a few people (fans) in his life but from this thread it seems they were certainly the exception.

Pete
August 28, 2008
I am not sure if it was the same game you reference, but I remember being at Shea and Hebner got called out on strikes and got on his knees and covered home plate up with dirt. Great stuff!

rich s,
October 17, 2008
Rich Hebner is in my top five of fav all-time Mets, behind George Foster, John Stearns, Jon Matlack, and Strawman!

Tony B
April 3, 2009
I recall Hebner striking out one time and the ball hitting him on the thigh (someone else said ribs). I was a young kid and thought every Met was a superstar. Looking back at those years it was a good thing I was young and didn't know any better.

pete
May 5, 2009
Richie is managing the Fredrick Keys. Saw him the other night in Prince William coaching third, laughing, enjoying life. He is a breath of fresh air for the game.

Dave Shaw
May 15, 2009
I had a friend in college in the mid-70's whose girlfriend was the LF-line ballgirl at Three Rivers Stadium. She wound up dropping him for Hebner, Pittsburgh's third-baseman, who has dropped a few. Good hitter who built strength and coordination digging graves in Massachusetts.

Steve from East Elmhurst
June 4, 2009
Hebner dug his own grave when he played for the Mets!

JohnnyD
April 6, 2010
I'll never forget Hebner DURING THE SEASON in 1979, publicly declaring he wanted out of NY and The Mets. He went on to say The Mets were the worst organization in baseball and couldn't wait for the season to end.

Ah the late 70's at Shea... truly a unique time.

Witz
October 29, 2010
I agree with most of the sentiments on here because, as a 12 year old I recall being so excited when I heard about the trade and then completely bummed out when I read in the Sporting News a week or so later that the first thing he did after the trade was ask his agent if he could somehow get him out of it!!

However, admit it, we were all pretty excited after his opening day performance, weren't we?? A few more days like that and maybe the Mets climb into 5th place!!

I just looked thru the box score for that game and it has a few other interesting tidbits--Kingman homers against the Mets, Orosco makes his Mets debut, Kelvin Chapman (2b of the future, has a great debut and then goes into a horrendous slump, as I recall, never to be heard from again, until he seemingly reappeared out of nowhere and had a good year in '84) and the late Donnie Moore making an appearance for the Cubbies...you can really get lost in these old box scores if you have the time!

Mike
April 28, 2011
I remember being excited about the trade that brought him to NY, also liked him for also being a hockey player. Once he got here though... well, what can you do, some people don't like big cities. I just wish he wasn't so vocal and adamant about it.

David
December 19, 2012
I remember his crappy attitude as well. I do not think it was because NYC is big that he had the attitude problem. Remember he played in Philly and Chicago. I think it is because these were the years, much like now , where the team was being run on the cheap. That does not excuse him. Mickey Lolich on the other hand , did not like NYC because he was married to Detroit. At least Lolich tried.









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