Now Commenting On:

Ex-Tiger Hernandez honored before game

Ex-Tiger Hernandez honored before game

Ex-Tiger Hernandez honored before game
DETROIT -- Ex-Tiger Guillermo Hernandez said that he not only welcomed Jose Valverde breaking his franchise record for consecutive saves, but he actually prayed for him to do it. After more than a quarter-century with that mark, he said that it was time.

"God bless him," Hernandez said, "because it was a record that I had for a long time. 27 years I had that record. And somebody [else] had to have it, because I'm out of baseball. I'm a Christian, and as soon as somebody told me that he may break my record, I said, 'Well, God bless him.'"

The Tigers brought back Hernandez this weekend to honor him at Comerica Park as part of their Fiesta Tigres celebration. Every Latin Tigers player joined him in a pregame ceremony, complete with a portrait honoring Hernandez's award-winning 1984 season and a watch presented by current Tigers setup man Joaquin Benoit.

Hernandez was also at Comerica Park for batting practice on Friday, which gave him a chance to meet the current closer whose 35 consecutive saves topped his mark from 1984.

"I talked to him yesterday, and I told him what happened," Hernandez said. "I prayed for him. I prayed for his family. And he told me now that he knows all the sentiments, he thanked me very much for that. He's a good kid. God bless him. He's got the potential to be around for a long time."

It's a different role for closers now than when Hernandez was playing. Hernandez went 32-for-32 in save chances before blowing his final opportunity that year, long after the Tigers had clinched a division title. Twenty of those saves required more than three outs, including five three-inning saves and a four-inning save. Hernandez won the Cy Young Award that season.

Hernandez understands. Once closers became highly-valued players with long-term contracts, he said, their longevity became more important.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español