Ramon Jose Hernandez is a professional baseball player from Venezuela and is a catcher. Hernandez made his MLB debut with the Oakland Athletics in 1999. His primary role was to be the backup to their first choice catcher, A. J. Hinch. But Hernandez had plans of his own and after great progress through the season, the Athletics decided that he was good enough for the top spot and traded Hinch out to the Kansas City Royals.
Hernandez grew through the years with the Athletics and became renowned as a catcher who packed a solid punch when batting. He called games really well and was known to be the ideal mentor for all young pitchers. In 2003, he came into his own after hitting at .273 with 21 homers and 78 RBI to his name. He also got the opportunity to play in his first ever All-Star game. Unfortunately, this was also the last season that the Venezuelan played for the Athletics. Oakland traded Hernandez out to the San Diego Padres but the reason for the trade was said to be financial, rather than tactical. Hernandez had played 135 games a year in his four seasons with the Athletics.
With the Padres, Hernandez had a bad start and battled with injuries for the most part in 2004 and 2005. A collision at home plate meant that he would miss almost a month’s action in mid-season due to a knee injury. He returned with a sizeable impact, batting at .281 and hit 11 home runs and 38 RBI to end the season with an average of .276 and a total of 18 homers and 63 RBI.
The following year, he was back on the disabled list with a wrist injury suffered when he was diving into first base against the Minnesota Twins. Although he returned after 18 games, his injury got worse and he was forced to undergo surgery for a more long term solution. He returned only in September, after being out for a month, and came back with a bang. He averaged .359 with the bat and led the Padres to the National League West Championship title. In the 22 games in September, he hit 5 home runs and had 20 RBI. His season ended at .290 with 12 home runs and at the end of the season, he became the most sought-after free agent on the market.
In 2006, Hernandez signed a 4-year, $27.5 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles. Although he didn’t produce the same scintillating batting performance as he did with the Padres, Hernandez had a descent .275 batting average in the year and hit 23 home runs with 91 RBI.
After an average 2007, the Orioles traded Hernandez out to the Cincinnati Reds in 2008 in exchange for Ryan Freel and two minor league players. His career batting average stands at .262 and Hernandez has hit 137 home runs and 572 RBI in over 1,130 games so far.