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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Kiki Hernandez worked hard mentally and physically over decade in pros; Topped out at AAA

Single-A Greensboro's Kiki Hernandez led the South Atlantic League in hitting, home runs and RBIs in mid-July 1991 and his manager Trey Hillman had nothing but praise for him, The Myrtle Beach Sun News wrote.

"What can you say about him? He works has hard mentally as he does physically," Hillman told The Sun News after Hernandez picked up three hits, including his 14th home run, in a Greensboro win.

Hernandez had that success at Greensboro in his fourth professional season. He went on to see time as a pro for more than a decade. He topped out at AAA.

Hernandez' career began in 1988, signed by the Yankees as a free agent out of his native Puerto Rico. Hernandez was also credited by his formal name, Enrique Hernandez.

Hernandez started with the Yankees in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He saw nine games and hit .160. He moved to short-season Oneonta for 1989 and hit .223 in 29 games/

He arrived at high-A Prince William for 1990 and got regular playing time. He hit .250 over 107 games. He hit a two-run double and scored in an April game.

Hernandez played 1991 largely at Greensboro and even had a late chance at a league triple crown, before getting moved up to Prince William when the chance faded.

That off-season, the catcher Hernandez got to get a look at the Yankees' ill-fated top draft pick, Brien Taylor, catching him in a workout, Newsday wrote.

"He's got a valuable arm there. That's obvious," Hernandez told Newsday of his observations.

Hernandez moved to AA Albany-Colonie for 1992, where he hit .281, then to AAA Columbus for a brief, 22-game 1993.

He played at Columbus and Albany-Colonie over 52 games in 1994, then moved to the Marlins and AAA Charlotte for 1995. He hit a key late home run in a August 1995 game for Charlotte.

"I was just trying to get on base," Hernandez told The Charlotte Observer after that game. "He threw me a couple good pitches inside and then hung a ball."

Hernandez played 1996 at independent Thunder Bay, then 1997 briefly ta independent Winnipeg. He's last credited as playing in 2004 with Yucatan in Mexico.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,080
Made the Majors:1,352-33.1%
Never Made Majors:2,728-66.9%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:550
10+ Seasons in the Minors:334-X

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