The show “Seinfeld” will turn 25 on July 5, making it older than Neymar, Bryce Harper, Johnny Manziel and a whole slew of today’s best athletes. But back then, Seinfeld hosted some of the hottest athletes of the 90s and early aughts, including Yankees’ players Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Paul O’Neill. Even the famously lampooned Yankees owner George Steinbrenner had a cameo. But the best cameo of all time on the classic show has got to be the Mets’ Keith Hernandez.
The former Mets first baseman appeared on two episodes in Season 3 in 1992 as Elaine’s love interest and Jerry’s friend. However, it’s Hernandez’s interaction with Kramer and Newman in what has become known as the “Magic Loogie” episode that makes his cameo the best of all time. (Although, it helps, too, that the “magic loogie” scenario is also the best parody of the “magic bullet” theory explained in the film “JFK,” which also happened to star Wayne Knight, the actor who plays Newman.)
NEWMAN: June 14, 1987… Mets Phillies. We’re enjoying a beautiful afternoon in the right field stands when a crucial Hernandez error to a five run Phillies ninth. Cost the Mets the game.
KRAMER: Our day was ruined. There was a lot of people, you know, they were waiting by the player’s parking lot. Now we’re coming down the ramp … [cut to film of the day, which resembles the Zabruder film]… Newman was in front of me. Keith was coming toward us, as he passes Newman turns and says, “Nice game pretty boy.” Keith continued past us up the ramp.
NEWMAN: A second later, something happened that changed us in a deep and profound way front that day forward.
ELAINE: What was it?
KRAMER: He spit on us…. and I screamed out, “I’m hit!”
NEWMAN: Then I turned and the spit ricochet of him and it hit me.
ELAINE: Wow! What a story.
JERRY: Unfortunately the immutable laws of physics contradict the whole premise of your account. Allow me to reconstruct this if I may for Miss Benes as I’ve heard this story a number of times.
JERRY: Newman, Kramer, if you’ll indulge me. According to your story Keith passes you and starts walking up the ramp then you say you were struck on the right temple. The spit then proceeds to ricochet off the temple striking Newman between the third and forth rib. The spit then cam off the rib turned and hit Newman in the right wrist causing him to drop his baseball cap. The spit then splashed off the wrist, pauses — in mid-air mind you — makes a left turn and lands on Newman’s left thigh. That is one magic loogie.
The scene is followed in the next episode with a conversation about the “magic loogie” with Hernandez.
NEWMAN: June 14th, 1987. Mets Phillies. You made a big error. Cost the Mets the game. Then you’re coming up the parking lot ramp.
KEITH: You said, “Nice game, pretty boy.”
KRAMER: Ah, you remember.
NEWMAN: And then you spit on us.
KEITH: Hey, I didn’t spit at you.
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah, right.
KRAMER: No no no, well, then who was it?
KEITH: Well lookit, the way I remember it [cut to the grainy Zabruderesque footage of the day] I was walking up the ramp. I was upset about the game. That’s when you called me pretty boy. It ticked me off. I started to turn around to say something, and as I turned around I saw Roger McDowell behind the bushes over by that gravely road. …Anyway, he was talking to someone and they were talking to you. I tried to scream out but it was too late. It was already on its way.
JERRY: I told you!
NEWMAN: Wow, it was McDowell.
JERRY: But why? Why McDowell?
KRAMER: Well, maybe because we were sitting in the right field stands cursing at him in the bullpen all game.
NEWMAN: He must have caught a glimpse of us when I poured that beer on his head.
NEWMAN: It was McDowell.
KRAMER: Oh boy. Uh, look uh, Keith, uh, we’re sorry.
NEWMAN: Yeah, I couldn’t be sorrier. I uh.
KEITH: look guys, don’t worry about it. I, uh, well I guess I better get going.
KRAMER: Wait, uh what are ya doing?
KEITH: I gotta move.
KRAMER: Want any help?
KEITH: I’d love some.
KRAMER: I’d love to help you move.
NEWMAN: Me too.
KEITH: OK guys, we gotta be careful of one thing. Some of the stuff’s very fragile. We’re going to have to handle it like a baby.
KRAMER: No sweat.
What’s your favorite Seinfeld sports moment? Or better yet, if “Seinfeld” was still on, who would you like to see and what would their story line be?