May 28, 2024

The ex-Detroit Tigers standout reliever and World Series victor, Willie Hernandez, has died at 69 due to complications arising from heart problems. Hernandez played a crucial role in the Tigers’ 1984 World Series triumph.

The Detroit Tigers are mourning the loss of a cherished member of their baseball family: Willie Hernandez, a former World Series champion and standout relief pitcher, has passed away at the age of 69. According to a report from a Puerto Rican newspaper, his death was attributed to long-standing heart issues.

Hernandez played a pivotal role in the Tigers’ triumph in the 1984 World Series, delivering a remarkable performance from the bullpen. In that memorable year, he achieved a 9-3 record with a stellar 1.92 ERA, leading the league in both appearances (80) and games finished (68). Notably, he secured 32 saves in 140.1 innings while striking out 112 batters.

Tigers MVP, World Series champion Willie Hernandez dies at 69

His outstanding contributions in 1984 earned him recognition as an All-Star, the Cy Young Award winner, and the Most Valuable Player. According to MLBTradeRumors, Hernandez holds a unique distinction as one of only 10 pitchers to win both a Cy Young Award and an MVP in the same season, and one of just three relievers to achieve this feat, alongside Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley. During the postseason, he added 9 1/3 innings of impressive 1.93 ERA pitching, including two crucial saves in the Tigers’ World Series victory over the Padres.

Throughout his career, Hernandez, a three-time All-Star, accumulated a lifetime record of 70-63 with a 3.38 ERA. He appeared in 774 games, securing 147 saves, and played for the Cubs, Phillies, and Tigers before retiring at the age of 34 in 1989.

Although the Tigers have not yet announced any official plans, it is anticipated that they will commemorate Hernandez in some way during the 2024 season.

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