Neil Allen Recalls Being Traded For Keith Hernandez

May 20, 2019 - 6:30 pm

By Joey Wahler

Pitcher Neil Allen joined the Mets in 1979 as a 21 year old sporting a great curveball.

“My father was blind,” Allen said. “But before he went blind he played some baseball himself. And he taught me the grip that he used to throw. And I’ll be darned if that’s the same one I went to the big leagues with.”

Allen's first Met manager was young, third-year skipper, Joe Torre.

“He had a lot of, lot of patience,” Allen said. “And with what we were bringing to the table every night, it took a man with a lot of patience to watch that every night. So you could see that if he got his opportunities and got with the right situation, that some good things were going to happen for him.”

After becoming a quality reliever, in 1983 Allen was dealt to the Cardinals for Keith Hernandez.

“It was a high profile, awful lot of pressure,” Allen said. “But at the same time it was something that makes you either grow up or get out. And that’s where it came to.”

Joining the Yankees in 1985, Allen played for manager Billy Martin.

“I enjoyed the way that if he had something to say to you, you knew where you stood with Billy,” Allen said. “There was no punches, no going behind your back. You knew where you stood with Billy at all times. And I enjoyed playing for him tremendously.”

In 1986, Allen pitched for White Sox skipper Tony La Russa.

“The way he could handle a pitching staff was just phenomenal,” Allen said. “And he knew when to pull the trigger, he knew what guy he kind of wanted for this individual. He just had a knack for it and was gifted at it. And did a wonderful job with a pitching staff.”

With Mariano Rivera closing, Allen became Yankee bullpen coach in 2005.

“As a coach, I learned things from Mariano that I was very gifted and very fortunate to be in that position,” Allen said. “To be in the bullpen, to watch his work ethic, to watch how he does about his business. How he prepares himself.”​