ESPN News ServicesNov 21, 2023, 07:49 PM2 Minute Read
Guillermo “Willie” Hernández, the 1984 American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner, has died, one week after he turned 69.
The Detroit Tigers, with whom he spent six seasons, announced his death Tuesday but provided no additional details.
“The Tigers are deeply saddened to learn from the passing of Willie Hernández,” the team said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the Hernández family, his friends, and teammates.”
Hernández, a native of Puerto Rico, made his major league debut with the Cubs in 1977 and remained in Chicago until an in-season trade sent him to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1983. He joined the Tigers in 1984, and the left-handed reliever He spent the rest of his career in Detroit, retiring after the 1989 campaign.
The 1984 season was a magical one for the Tigers, who finished 104-58 under manager Sparky Anderson and defeated the San Diego Padres in the World Series in five games.
Hernández led major league pitchers in appearances (80) and games finished (68) that year. He had a 9-3 record with a 1.92 ERA and 32 saves. He wasn’t only a ninth-inning closer, throwing 140⅓ innings with 112 strikeouts.
Hernández became only the third player to win MVP honors, the Cy Young Award and World Series in the same season, joining Sandy Koufax (1963) and Denny McLain (1968).
“Willie Hernández was a great teammate, and I’m terribly sorry to hear the news of his passing,” Hall of Famer Alan Trammell, who played shortstop for the Tigers from 1977-96, said Tuesday in a statement. “I will never forget our team’s celebration together on the mound after he recorded the final out of the 1984 World Series. He will always be remembered as a World Series champion. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
In his 13 MLB seasons, Hernández was 70-63 with a 3.38 ERA and 147 saves in 744 games (11 starts). He struck out 788 batters in 1,044⅔ innings.
He was a three-time All-Star, all with the Tigers.
Information from Reuters was included in this report.